Penn State sets a scary precedent going forward.
“So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.” – Padme’ Skywalker
In news that shouldn’t surprise you, Penn State University got hammered this morning, like everyone expected. It even lived up to the “unprecedented” tag that was floating around the day before. When was the last time a school got nailed for 60 million dollars (to be paid in 5 installments at 12 million dollars a year, also to be donated to various child advocacy charities), limited to 15 scholarships a year for the next five seasons, stripped of their shares of Big Ten bowl money.
Even after all of that carnage, the Paterno family put out a statement, stating that the NCAA was wrong for rushing so quickly to judgment, that the NCAA skipped many steps to get to the ruling stage. That rushing to this stage defamed the legacy of man who contributed so much on and off the field. The Paterno family even went for the jugular when it was stated “This is not a fair or thoughtful action; it is a panicked response to the public’s understandable revulsion at what Sandusky did.”
Obvious familial bias aside: Is the Paterno family wrong for that assessment?
When one looks at everything that has transpired since the Freeh report was released, the NCAA took the better part of two weeks, bypassed due process, didn’t hold any meetings. They just read the Freeh report, bullied the Penn State brass , and fired. There was no vetting of the Freeh report, no separate investigations to see if the NCAA had anything more than legal loopholes to tie to Penn State. Instead we saw the NCAA, galvanized by peer pressure crush Penn State football for the foreseeable future.
Those who think I’m defending what the previous Penn State administration did, please understand I’m not. Covering up child molestation is beyond reprehensible, especially when it was to only protect the “purity” of Penn State football. What I do have a problem with is the way the NCAA came to this conclusion, and the very dangerous precedent they have now set going forward.
For example, if the Ohio State incident is unearthed now instead of a few years ago, who’s to say Emmert and his posse don’t come into Columbus with guns blazing and shut the program down without any due process? What about UNC and their ongoing saga regarding potential academic fraud? And if you’re an AD down in Coral Gables right now, you cannot be comfortable with the way the Penn State decision came down.
With this decision, the NCAA has now turned one legal decision (NCAA vs Tarkanian in 1988) into a weapon where they can punish a school or even worse an athlete without due process, based off of one individual report, vetted or not. I guess congratulations are in order, as the NCAA has turned transformed itself from a hapless Barney Fife type, patrolling Mayberry to a vicious dictator armed with nuclear launch codes.
What’s funny and sad at the same time is that the NCAA wasn’t even necessary, between Penn State blatantly violating the Cleary Act and the upcoming lawsuits from Sandusky victims; Penn State was going to lose out anyway. The Freeh report and Sandusky trial basically painted nothing but financial hurt in Penn State’s future, why was a decision from the NCAA even necessary?
Sadly that question becomes moot now, but years from now I can’t help but sit back and ask where was I when the NCAA finally took real power and then proceeded to abuse it.