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BSD Roundtable: NCAA Sanctions


Today begins the new, new era of Penn State football after the severe, crippling sanctions handed down by the NCAA yesterday morning. Of course, there are people on both sides of the fence, some saying Penn State got exactly what it deserved while others think that the governing body had to right to take this out on a bunch of innocent student-athletes and coaches who had nothing to do with the acts of Jerry Sandusky and the cover-up. A even bigger debate is taking place as to whether this crusade that the NCAA is taking to clean up moral issues is overstepping its bounds or not. Here's what we here at BSD think of the new age of Penn State football. -DV

Galen: Everything is solved! Innocent children will never be harmed again and we should erect a statue of Mark Emmert in the empty spot that used to hold Joe Paterno's statue. Of course that's all bullshit, especially the statue part. What we witnessed was grandstanding at its finest. The NCAA has to protect its brand and doing nothing would have tarnished it. Now that they have taken the moral superiority role, they can hold their heads up high because they made a difference. The thing is, they didn't. The 60 Million is a nice gesture but it's the only positive thing about this whole decision. The only people this affects is the players (the one's that stay anyway) and more importantly you and I. We’re the ones that have to watch what was our beloved program, scratch and claw its way through the next 5 – 10 years. Unless O’Brian works some magic, there will be mass exodus and what recruit would want to come to Penn State for at least the next 4 years? As is always the case with the NCAA, they didn’t punish the people responsible and the one’s punished had absolutely nothing to do with the crime.

Here’s the rub for Emmert, he now is no longer just running a rules committee anymore, they are now something far greater because Penn State broke no NCAA bylaws and that’s what the NCAA is supposed to do. But you better believe if something like, oh I don’t know, a player rapes a girl at Notre Dame, Emmert better saddle his ass up and come down on them as well. If he doesn’t, then he would be treating a member school different than every other member and that would make the NCAA the biggest hypocrite in the history of hypocrites.

Cari: Huge dollar amount to be donated to charity (from NCAA and B1G fines)? I like it.

Bowl game ban? I understand it.

1998-2011 wins vacated? While I think the inclusion of wins from 1998-2000 on that list is absolutely ludicrous, as the actual police and district attorney investigated in 1998 and declined to press any charges, this is largely symbolic and doesn't really matter to those that remember the feeling these games brought. The worst part of these vacations is that we probably won't see any of these games on TV, ever again.

The biggest problem I have with the sanctions are the massive scholarship reductions. Focus needs to shift from football to academics? Really, Emmert? Tell that to the other hundred plus FBS schools that are behind PSU in most, if not all, academic measurements. And what better way to focus on academics than to, you know, not let ten players per year get a college education. Because if those men who were part of this institutional failure weren't deterred with the threat of jail time, the threat of scholarship reductions in a football program at a school none will be affiliated with anymore totally will be that deterrent necessary to prevent future abuses. This part of the sanctions is punishing more kids just for the sake of sending a message.

Personally, I've had five people come up to me today when they heard about the sanctions. All five thought that this portion of the punishment especially was too, too harsh. None have any ties whatsoever to Penn State; all but one don't even watch football. When people that removed from the situation have such strong opinions, how can you not think something's been done wrong?

Mike: In one, definitely unprecedented decision, the NCAA has forever entrenched itself as one of the most self-serving, oblivious-to-common-sense, and completely unchecked power in the entire United States. Hyperbole? Spare me. If there is one thing you could get nearly everyone to agree upon before this Penn State scandal, it was that the NCAA is a joke organization run by morons. Now that everyone is racing to prove they hate child abuse more than the next person, the NCAA is suddenly wise in its decision making ability to hammer the Penn State football program so harshly as it did today.

The NCAA didn't punish Penn State to help rectify the mythical "wins over education" culture that existed in Happy Valley--hint: it didn't because it never existed there in the first place. All it did was reinforce the very notion that taking away a school's ability to win some football games would be the most horrible punishment possible. It's complete and utter bullshit coming right from the source. Coverage of any subsequent penalties from, say, the Federal government will get some air time, but nothing like this. Why? Because while the nation bemoans Penn State's supposed "overemphasis on winning football games," it is doing nothing more than exacerbating the very problem Mark Emmert claims is at the root of this entire horrible episode in American history. By using football as the harshest penalty available, it proves that the football-first culture isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Kyle: Sandusky in jail? Check. Curley/Schultz facing trial? Check. Spanier facing charges? Likely. And with Paterno dead, it seems to me that everyone involved in the cover up has been, or will be, punished. So why punish innocent bystanders? I don't buy the argument that an example had to be made of Penn State so other schools know it's not ok to cover up for child molesters. Have you been paying attention over the past eight months? I'm sure other member schools in the NCAA were watching the situation at Penn State unfold thinking "Yea... covering up crimes pays off in the end."

The $60 million fine is acceptable. It just stinks that Penn State had to wait for sanctions in order to donate any money (outside of the bowl money which was a foregone conclusion). Every other portion of the punishment is a big "screw you" to Penn Staters. It serves no purpose other than punishment for punishment's sake. Repaying injustice with injustice is never ok.

Penn State will survive this, and we'll be better for it in the end. But don't try and tell me that this is a "Penn State problem". You're just lying to yourself (or a troll) if you believe that.

Keith: I hate the NCAA today. Actually, I hate it every day, I just hate it more today. I understand their need to be relevant, but by imposing these sanctions on kids, coaches and businesses, all they did was punish people who never touched a child and never covered up for a child molester. This is nothing more than an economic sanction, levied by a feckless organization for the sole purpose of establishing its relevance.

The best part, aside from the NCAA turning a blind eye to Syracuse and their broadcast partner, ESPN, is the fact that their actions did not save one child from abuse. They would point to the $60 million penalty to establish a child abuse prevention fund. Notice, however, that he never said who would actually manage or monitor the fund once its established. I'm sure it will be managed by the NCAA, with its usury "Administration Fee." This cost will be passed on from the Administration to the students, in the form of higher tuition and fees. So, to recap, the NCAA not only made it virtually impossible for Penn State to field a competitive football team for at least a decade. It also made it much more difficult for students to attend the university. So much for putting academics first. It seems to me that the NCAA has relegated academics to the backseat, this time behind money and politics. Perhaps the NCAA should suffer the same fate as the statue of Joe Paterno.

Adam: Four men don't create a "culture," and Penn State has always been about more than football. So Darren Rovell can quip about his snarky "facts" all that he wants and Sports Illustrated can proclaim that "We Were Penn State" on its cover, and that's all well and good except for one small detail - neither one of those is true. This community has and will continue to support the players that remain loyal to it and the ones who comport themselves with class. We will continue to graduate our players at "unprecedented" rates for a major college football program because that's who "We Are."

I'm proud of my degree. I'm proud of this community. I'm proud to be a Penn Stater. If the NCAA wants to take gratuitous shots at a group of innocent people who are already struggling to deal with the failure of their institution and their leadership, then that's fine. No one can stand up and stop them today. So go ahead and get your shots in now, everyone. But you'll never kill our spirit and you'll never drown our pride.

Nick: The "punishments" themselves are not the issue, as absurd they are on their own, outside of the fine. Hypocritically citing "the victims and their families" without bothering to seek their counsel regarding the decision, Mark Emmett and his "Star Chamber" eschewed due process required by their actions and administered a verdict for crimes nowhere within it’s jurisprudence. Apparently emerging from living in a cave to play the farcical masquerade as supposed judge, jury and executioner, Emmert grasped at straws every step of the way trying the claim the culture of putting football before academics required change? Uh, what? Penn State? The school consistently among the top graduation rates in country for its football team Penn State? Swing and a miss, try again. Then perhaps to protect the children? While the fine is acceptable, and honestly the only tool it really had to work with, if the NCAA was really concerned about the children they’d have announced matching funds for the fine instead of callously grandstanding on a falsity. They didn’t. They had no reasoning for involvement and manufactured a ridiculous façade to cover the fact they had no legs to stand on.

I challenge the "Star Chamber" or anyone else to point out in the Freeh Report, because the NCAA can’t be bothered to do any investigating of their own, the proof where any decision regarding Sandusky was made with any thought of how the football program would have been impacted? It wasn’t. Under threat, the spineless Rodney Erickson signed off on a fiction presented by the NCAA allowing no chance of appeal. This isn’t about football, but no one appears interested in facts, except the justice system, the ONLY authority with the jurisdiction in this case.

Ben: What an awful, shitty mess this entire scandal has been.

And now we all - players, coaches, and fans included - have our politically prescribed penance. Fine. Good.

So I'm moving forward. In the coming days, the BSD team will be launching a small charitable effort. I hope you'll join us.