I had been trying to decide since the beginning of the season whether I wanted to go to the Wisconsin game this Saturday. I finally bought a ticket about a week ago, but I was reconsidering after the Nebraska game, because I'm old and weak and I'm having a lot more trouble handling the cold weather these days.
I purge e-mails on my home computer about every 1,000 days or so, and today happened to be that day. While reviewing my old messages, I came across the following e-mail I had sent to a friend (a minister who is an Ohio State fan) on the day after the NCAA sanctions were announced in July of 2012.
The NCAA penalties finally moved me to the acceptance phase. I understand the removal of the statue and the sentiment used to vacate the wins. I don't really care about the NCAA's destruction of the football program, because all along, I valued fair play, hard work, and academic achievement more than wins anyway. Not that I wouldn't want a 12-0 season every year, but I would rather be 0-12 and do things the right way. I still believe PSU generally tried to do things the right way overall, regardless of what has been reported. I have been following the program for over 40 years, and there are too many academic all-Americans, too high of a graduation rate, and too many well-educated former players for me to not believe this is true. I believe it is a slap in the face to those players who brought honor to the university if people continue to try to re-write history.
The NCAA penalties also give me an excuse to look forward to future games. I would rather have a group of kids that love PSU, and anyone who sticks with the football program will have my utmost respect and continued support. I am really looking forward to the start of the football season now, to show the remaining players and coaches exactly how much I appreciate their loyalty and commitment to the school. I will not be upset if any football players transfer or de-commit, either, because I can certainly understand the need for each player to look out for their own best interest. I will also pray that the players who remain are not subjected to any injuries as a result of depth problems that may be created by a lack of available scholarships.
I am disappointed in the lack of due process and the overall race to judgment, but I certainly understand how upset people are. I am upset too. I just want to be sure that I am directing my anger at the people who are ultimately found to deserve it the most. I hope all of the guilty parties receive the appropriate penalties. Although it gets harder every day to support some of my positions, I intend to stand behind people I have admired for the majority of my life until they receive the benefit of at least some form of due process.
Like most PSU supporters, I am disgusted at what I have learned to date and unfortunately, at what I may learn in the future. As a group, we accept that terrible things happened at our school and we accept that appropriate punishments are required. I believe, as I think most PSU supporters do, that it is now time to move forward and focus on the future. We need to correct the failures that allowed these atrocities to happen and use this as a teachable moment to make sure they never happen again.
I intend to remain proud of my overall affiliation with Penn State, however. I also intend to continue to respect the many family-oriented, god-fearing, humble, patriotic, and honorable Penn State coaches, players, students, alumni, and fans I have met throughout my life. I don't believe the NCAA had any jurisdiction in this matter, but since the end result of their involvement allowed me to come to what I believe to be a positive outlook for the future, I guess I can't complain too loudly.
Having had the opportunity to re-read this message 16 months later, I don't think I would make any significant changes. And after reading it again this morning, I was pissed at myself for even considering staying home on Saturday.
Putting aside the reasons for the sanctions (we all agree heinous crimes were committed against innocent victims) or whether the NCAA had the authority to issue the sanctions (we mostly agree they did not), how have the sanctions affected your overall attitude? Is watching Penn State football more enjoyable, less enjoyable, or about the same?