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The Paterno Effect

By now we all know Joe Paterno has decided to punish the entire team for the April 1 apartment fight by making them clean Beaver Stadium after each home game in addition to several hours of community service. The coach has been getting a lot of praise for his unorthodox approach to addressing the problem. It seems that when the legendary coach talks, some people still listen.

This week the athletic department announced the punishment for the 2005 wrestling team hazing incident, and it sounds very similar to what the football team is going to face.

Four students broke the conduct code with hazing- or drinking-related violations, according to the news release. Each will face a variety of sanctions, including probation and 40 hours of community service.

They'll also need to write research and reflection papers on hazing, Penn State reported.

Another four students broke only wrestling team rules, according to the university. Each of them will be required to fulfill the community service requirement and write a paper.

"One student who was less involved received a disciplinary warning and an education activity," the news release stated.

The trio who have since left the team were directly involved in the "hazing activity" and underage drinking, according to the university investigation. Their punishment will include probation, community service and composition of a reflection paper.

They "left the team for various other reasons that are not connected to this" incident, Mountz wrote in an e-mail message.

Sunderland said Friday that none of the wrestlers involved in the incident will miss competition time during the 2007-08 season if they follow the disciplinary measures.

Sunderland declined to comment further.

All wrestling team members will be required to attend a program on hazing and sign a document that denounces the practice, according to the university.

Points of interest:

  • Each member will do community service
  • Nobody will miss any matches
  • They will all take counseling
  • They will have to write "research and reflection papers"
  • They will have to sign a document denouncing hazing

I think the first three points are great. Writing a paper and signing a document seem a little pointless to me, but I'm ok with it. I saw the pictures, and I saw stuff a lot worse than that in my college days. So I would hate to see any of these kids suspended or kicked off the team.

The old dog Paterno can not only learn new tricks, he can teach them to other people. Perhaps Joe's example is the beginning of a trend in college athletics.