Earl Ofari Hutchinson's take on the politics of the day
Penn State at nightfall (PSU website)
Earlier today NCAA President Mark Emmert used his executive powers with the approval of the NCAA Board of Directors and applied unprecedented penalties on Penn State University in light of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The NCAA fined the school $60 million, cut scholarships for four years (from 25 to 14), and imposed a four-year postseason ban and vacated all wins from 1998-2011.
Edward J. Ray, the NCAA executive committee chairman and president of Oregon State, said, "Not only does the NCAA have the authority to act in this case, we also have the responsibility."
Ray cited the Sandusky criminal investigation and the recently released Freeh Commission report as reasons for the NCAA actions. Ray noted that Penn State commissioned the Freeh report and agreed with the findings.
Vacating the wins means the late Joe Paterno is no longer is the winningest major college football coach in history.
What this also means is that as far the record book is concerned, Paterno lost all those games. That would bring losses to 156 seasonal games. The total doesn’t include post season contests.
What the NCAA did was to allow Penn State players to transfer to other schools without any penalties. The normal ban would a one year wait period before playing for the new school.
Does the punishment fit the crime?
In the view of this journalist it does.
From the Penn State president on down, everyone is to blame. The only innocents are the players and the janitors. The janitors were aware of the scandal and were told to ignore it if they didn’t wish to lose their jobs.
No amount of money can ever clear what happened to the victims of this tragedy. The victims will carry this the rest of their lives.
Of the Penn State alumni, this will mean that their achievements, degrees, and any other honors they may have earned will be forever tarnished with the disgrace of a sex scandal that occurred while they attended that college.
With the lawsuits that will be coming and there will be many, it isn’t farfetched to say that Penn State may find itself in bankruptcy. It could also mean that the retirement package given to Paterno could be declared null and void by the bankruptcy court.
The moral to all this?
Covering up the wrongs will wind up costing you more than if you had come forward and corrected them when you first discovered them.
Will others learn from this?
I hope so, however I won’t hold my breath.