The NCAA has decided to hammer the Penn State football program with sanctions that will result in the loss of significant scholarships and multiple bowl games. The penalties break new ground for the NCAA who in the past have been more concerned with keeping a level playing field between all schools rather than getting involved in ethical and criminal matters.
The complete details of the sanctions will be announced at 9:00 AM EST at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. Corrective and punitive are the words being used to describe the penalties and a source told ESPN on Sunday that the "Death Penalty" may have been preferable to what is coming.
This is the highest profile case so far during Mark Emmert's tenure as NCAA President and it will effectively place his stamp on institutional penalties and punishment going forward. An NCAA source was quoted as saying that there will be "significant, unprecedented penalties" that are "well beyond what has been done in the past."
Emmert is kind of going completely rogue on this one. It appears that Penn State is being sanctioned by a committee of comprised of a handful without a proper hearing or due process. I have also heard that the school will be fined $30 plus million dollars and that money will be put into a trust to help abused children. Word out of Penn State is that they won't challenge or appeal.
This ruling also may not bode very well for the University of Oregon and Miami athletic departments in coming months when their investigations are concluded and penalties are finalized.
The Penn State Reaction
The statement below is all you need to know why it made good sense for the NCAA to make an example out of Penn State. It seems that the people in charge still need to be hit repeatedly with a collective hammer to understand the seriousness of what happened.
"Emmert has been given full reign by the pansy presidents (at other universities) to make his own decision," said the trustee, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He has been given the authority to impose these unprecedented sanctions. It's horrible."
The Statue Comes Down
In other news related to the scandal the Penn State Board of Trustee's have decided to remove the Joe Paterno statue which resides outside of Beaver Stadium. The statue will be stored in a secure location until they decide what needs to be done with it on a permanent basis.
Paterno's name will remain on the school library for the present time. Paterno donated millions of dollars to the University during his sixty plus year tenure at the school. Paterno and his wife Sue donated approximately $4.5 million towards the construction of the library.
"I now believe that, contrary to is original intention, Coach Paterno's statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location."
Paterno Family Statement
"Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State Community. We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth. The Freeh report, though it has been accepted by the media as the definitive conclusion on the Sandusky scandal, is the equivalent of an indictment -- a charging document written by a prosecutor -- and an incomplete and unofficial one at that.
"To those who truly want to know the truth about Sandusky, it should matter that Joe Paterno has never had a hearing; that his legal counsel has never been able to interview key witnesses, all of whom are represented by lawyers and therefore unavailable; that there has never been an opportunity to review critical evidence which has not been made public; that selective evidence and the opinion of Mr Freeh is treated as the equivalent of a fair trial.
Despite this obviously flawed and one-sided presentation, the University believes it must acquiesce and accept that Joe Paterno has been given a fair and complete hearing. We think the better course would have been for the University to take a strong stand in support of due process so that the complete truth can be uncovered.
"It is not the University's responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno. But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the Board and other key players is far from complete."
The Paterno Family Still Not Getting It
The Paterno family has decided to hire their own investigative team to dispute the findings of the Freeh Report. Not sure who is advising the family (Vatican?) but the advice they have been getting so far isn't helping their cause. What they need to do is accept the findings of the report and move on in some constructive manner.
They still have the ability to do good in the name of Joe Paterno and they should be concentrating on that rather than wasting time, effort, and money on trying to rewrite the history of a man who had a serious lapse in judgement which resulted in the continued sexual abuse of children by Jerry Sandusky for another decade.
What the Paterno family should be concentrating on is helping the victims and making sure that something like this never happens anywhere else again. Joe was quoted as saying, "I wish I could have done more." Maybe his family should start thinking about granting that wish before it is too late.
Even after Sandusky was arrested in November, according to the Times, the Paterno family fought for some perks -- such as access to the university's private jet, and a suite at the stadium next to the president's (rather than a new suite one level down) for a period of 25 years after Paterno retired -- actions that smack of the same sort of entitlement and Joe Pa displayed when he was alive, and still flouting his status as the most powerful man at Penn State with stunts like kicking his bosses, Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley, out of his house when there was a movement afoot to replace him as football coach, declaring, "I'll decide when I retire."
Bobby Bowden Reaction
Bobby Bowden says he wouldn't mind it if the NCAA stripped some victories away from Joe Paterno. The spirits of Eddie Robinson and Amos Alonzon Stagg also agree.
When I asked Bowden if covering up the worst scandal in the history of college sports helps a program gain a competitive advantage, he replied: "That's possibly the way, they (the NCAA) will look at it. Not only possible, it's probable."
Bowden was quoted earlier last week saying that Joe's statue should be removed.
We were pretty close as coaches and everyone has such great respect for Joe," Bowden said. "Still, you must look at it as a man who made a mistake --not a little-itty mistake, but a very serious mistake." "To cover it up, that's a tough one," said Bowden, who last visited with Paterno in the spring of 2011.