'Death penalty' for Penn State football

AP file
Former Coaches Jerry Sandusky (left) and Joe Paterno
Thursday, July 12, 2012 4:12 PM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 10:17 PM
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ARDMORE, Pa. — Indefensible.

A scathing 267-page report released Thursday reveals the depths of the Penn State cover-up that placed a serial child molester and the reputation of a university and its football program above the welfare of defenseless children.

And the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the facts of the internal inquiry on the heels of the horrifying testimony that convicted former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is that Penn State doesn’t need to be playing any football in the near future.

If the university doesn’t see fit to self impose harsh sanctions to rebuild its reputation, then the NCAA needs to step up and deliver the “death penalty” to the Nittany Lions program.

If this isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened in a football program and a flagrant abuse of institutional control, I don’t know what is. Southern Methodist’s recruiting scandals were petty compared to what Penn State did – and didn’t – do to protect children.

The late Joe Paterno, who investigation chief and former FBI director Louis Freeh said “was an integral part of this active decision to conceal,” was flat-out wrong and down-right insulting in a statement he made shortly before his death.

“This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one,” Paterno wrote in the letter that was released this week.

I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but Paterno doesn’t hold the moral authority to tell anyone what is and isn’t anymore. His
integrity on this issue is null and void.

This is absolutely a football scandal even if none of the players on Penn State’s teams were aware or involved. The current players don’t deserve to be punished, but it’s always active and innocent players who bear the brunt of sanctions imposed for the wrong-doing of others.

Penn State has no business sending a team out to represent the university this fall. Every one of its active players should be released and be free to transfer to any other school for immediate eligibility to finish their collegiate careers.

Penn State needs to take the next year or two to voluntarily erase remnants of the scandal from the landscape – including razing the football building where Sandusky was witnessed raping victims on more than one occasion. How future generations of Penn State students can be expected to shower in the same place where Sandusky prowled is incomprehensible.

This is obviously a great cost for a powerhouse program that for the most part operated on its founding principles of “success with honor.” But this instance of institutional and program failure is too egregious to just ignore and move on.

If the school isn’t willing to do this itself, the NCAA needs to step in and do it for them. Sure, the circumstances aren’t necessarily spelled out in the NCAA manual, but that’s only because nobody could have foreseen such a horrifying abuse of power by an athletics program. An example needs to be made and put on the record that this kind of cover-up can’t be tolerated.

The facts of the report – culled during eight months of pouring over official school documents and e-mails – specifically singled out the football program as being the “currency” that allowed Sandusky to “groom victims.” And the university’s silence on the matter enabled a sexual deviant to stalk and abuse children for more than a decade after the school’s leaders first made the conscious decision to conceal what they knew.

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” Freeh said. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

Freeh called the school’s disregard for the boys Sandusky abused “callous and shocking.” Evidence shows that former athletic director Tim Curley changed his mind about reporting Sandusky’s behavior to authorities after “talking it over” with Paterno.

Former school vice president Gary Schultz worried about “opening a Pandora’s Box” if the allegations against Sandusky were revealed.

Ex-president Graham Spanier noted “the only downside for us is if the message isn’t (heard) and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.”

Do these sound like the actions of men unaware that what they were doing was wrong? No, they knew it and did it anyway to protect their own and the football program.

Paterno’s family said Thursday that the late coach “never interfered with any investigation.”

Excuse me, but interfering would have been a good idea and could have saved some boys from further abuse.

At this point, it isn’t enough that Sandusky spend the rest of his life in jail, that Paterno’s legacy be forever tarnished by his gross inaction and that all the officials key to the cover-up were fired and in some cases indicted for lying to a grand jury.

No, at this point Penn State needs to be punished for what it did and the football program needs to be rebooted and started from scratch.

Only then will justice be served in full and the school be able to move forward.

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justthefacts
24071
Points
justthefacts 07/13/12 - 08:59 am
1
2
Death Penality

Shutting down the Football program would have a far more devastating effect on the innocent than the guilty. I fail to see how that makes sense.

justthefacts
24071
Points
justthefacts 07/13/12 - 09:09 am
2
1
Ripple effect

Shut down the program and who gets hurt, besides the innocent players? How about all the administrative employees, stadium workers, local restaurants, merchandise vendors. It would a terrible hit to the local economy. All because of basically 4 bad guys. Again, just seems unfair to me.

carolinagirl
7
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carolinagirl 07/13/12 - 10:39 am
2
1
I Agree

If any football program EVER deserved the "death penalty", it is this one. I'm truly sorry for the football players who would suffer but that is always the case when there are NCAA sanctions. Why would any of them want to represent this football program at this point anyway? It would probably be doing them a favor to allow them to transfer to a reputable program. I am more sorry for the victims of these heinous crimes than for anyone connected to the Penn State football program. The shower building DEFINITELY needs to be razed and the statue of Paterno removed forever. All of his accomplishments on the field are now tarnished. I also hope the school, these highly-paid administrators, and the estate of Paterno is sued for every penny they earned from Penn State football and the money given to the victims to help them rebuild their lives. These people do not deserve to live in luxury after what they have knowingly and willingly allowed to happen to those poor boys.

itsanotherday1
47031
Points
itsanotherday1 07/13/12 - 11:18 am
1
0
Hat tip to Scott

Some would impose the "death penalty" to those who change a position over time as new information is available. I say it is an ignorant person who doesn't consider new information and base their opinions on it, rather than hanging on like a pit bull on a bone.

Riverman1
90787
Points
Riverman1 07/13/12 - 11:33 am
1
1
We all have our opinions.

We all have our opinions, but a few of us wrote plenty at the very start saying Paterno and Co. were responsible and should be fired and some arrested.

Now I'll give you my thoughts again that this is not related to football although they were coaches and college officials. There was no illegal recruiting or whatever. The school, fans and players don't deserve punishment for the actions of a criminal and those who covered up for him.

itsanotherday1
47031
Points
itsanotherday1 07/13/12 - 01:12 pm
3
0
Speaking for myself; my

Speaking for myself; my argument from the beginning (in the face of one very shrill poster who is no longer on the comments section) was that as a procedural/process matter, Joe Pa was not negligent by reporting it to his superiors rather than going straight to the authorities. I stand by that. I also said where he WAS negligent, was in not following up, essentially participating in the coverup. I stand by that too.

My antagonist in that debate argued that anyone with hearsay of child molestation should go straight to the cops. I said then and say now, that is a very dangerous thing considering how kids always tell the truth and everything... It can be the devil if you do and the devil if you don't; but I think the bigger devil is ruining someones life with a false accusation of child molestation.

KSL
140497
Points
KSL 07/13/12 - 02:37 pm
0
0
In the case of SMU, the

In the case of SMU, the players and a booster(s) were involved in the wrong doing. The players were given and accepted payments. It is important to note that SMU was disallowed playing home games, but not away games so not to unfairly punish the those teams.

justthefacts
24071
Points
justthefacts 07/13/12 - 03:48 pm
0
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Well

It is an isolated case. Can anyone tell me of another case that even comes close to this?

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