Never Again

July 23, 2012

By Paul Bowen
BDA Sports Editor Emeritus

The National Collegiate Athletic Association exercised the nuclear option against the Penn State Nittany Lions.  60 million dollar fine.  Ban on post-season play for four years.  Scholarships reduced for four years.

Every victory from 1998 to 2011-the period of time from when the first allegation of child abuse against Jerry Sandusky was made until the year of his arrest-stripped from the record books forever.  Players free to transfer without penalty.  Hell, players are free to quit playing football and their scholarships will be honored.  Oh, and the Big Ten cut them out of 13 million of Bowl revenue for four years.

And Penn State agreed to these sanctions.  But that’s because their only option, according to ESPN, was to get the so-called Death Penalty-not fielding a team-for four years.  This would have effectively put Penn State football out of business.  Even at that, agreeing to these sanctions puts them out of business for a decade.

I can hear it now.  “This just in: Kent State 30, Penn State 0.”  As the Psalmist said, “Oh how the mighty have fallen.”

The critics of this action make a fair point when they say, even conceding the horrific nature of the offense concealed by men of great power in both the Athletic Department and the Administration, and the proof will show that they did well know and conceal them, that this is beyond the purview of the NCAA which is best suited to the happy hunting grown of faked up ACT tests and hundred dollar handshakes.

I used to be a lawyer for the government.  I thrived on technical defenses.  The critics make a fair point.

It’s not a great point.

Let us walk the cat back on this.  It requires but casual logic to infer that Joe Paterno convinced the Athletic Director to back off on an earlier agreed plan to turn Sandusky over to the authorities. A large part of the competitive advantage Penn State had to lure kids to the middle of nowhere in State College was JoePa’s integrity.

Wait.  There’s more.  Former PSU President Graham Spanier, who now claims he was abused as a child and, hence, would never suborn knowledge of these allegations. is on record as having written a note wondering if these allegations might “open Pandora’s box.”  And get this.  Spanier was on the NCAA Committee about reforming D-I athletics.  Knowing what he knew!

At Penn State integrity was just a brand to be protected.  And little boys were sacrificed in the process to that end.

And so what other response from the NCAA was remotely proportionate to the institutional concealment of the rape of little boys?  Upon what planet do people live that do not get it?

But today the NCAA, completely co-opted as it is by big time football, exercised the nuclear option.

Most references to the Holocaust are trite and overwrought.  And I’m not making one here.

But some events should never be allowed to be smeared from the collective history of right thinking people.

The Jews say, “Never forget.”

Never forget Penn State.

Little boys were raped in your locker room.

Never forget Penn State.

Never.


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