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Criminal Charges Great, Football Punishments Bad​

It is about time.  Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was charged Thursday with being part of the brain trust that essentially covered up child sex abuse complaints against now convicted pedophile, Jerry Sandusky. Spanier was charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse, and conspiracy.  Prosecutors also added counts against two of Spanier’s former underlings, Tim Curley, the Athletic Director, and Gary Schultz, retired VP of Business and Finance.  They were already charged with lying to the grand jury that investigated the former Penn State assistant football coach.  The added counts were endangering the welfare of children, obstruction, and conspiracy.
In July, Spanier revealed in a letter to the board of trustees that he had been physically abused by his father as a child.  “It is unfathomable and illogical to think that a respected family sociologist and family therapist, someone who personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child, someone who devoted a significant portion of his career to the welfare of children and youth … would have knowingly turned a blind eye to any report of child abuse or predatory sexual acts directed at children,” Spanier wrote.
Then the questions swirled around what the involvement of the Head Coach.  “What he did, what he didn’t do, Joe Paterno, you guys can decide,” State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan told reporters. “Most of this stuff is in the presentment. But that’s not the point here. The point is, we have the president, the athletic director, I mean the actual top people and that’s who we have charged.”  I believe that Joe Pa was one of the people at the top, making all the decisions regarding this as well as any other university matter.  It reminded me of a “good ole boy network”.
Nevertheless, I believe the NCAA should have separated the criminal aspect of this entire tragedy from the football field.  I believe that Paterno should be in the same boat as the 3 others named above.  Since he is no longer with us, move on.
The penalties bestowed on the football program were nothing short of a “death penalty”.  Grant it, Penn St. did not have to forfeit an entire season like SMU did back in 1987.  SMU is the only football program ever to receive the death penalty from the NCAA.  And trust me, they deserved it.  That program was run like a business.  Players were signing contracts that paid them all four years they were there.  It was so bad that people were joking that Eric Dickerson was going to take a pay cut when he went to the NFL!  That debacle was also known from the top down, not only that, they were caught twice!  SMU did not clean up the program and the NCAA hammered them.  Those were actual football/player infractions of the rules.  The punishment Penn St. has to endure stem from heinous criminal actions, which had nothing to do with them winning or losing football games.
The NCAA hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning. The career record of Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records, the NCAA said.  Penn State also must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period.  Plus, with the wins from 1998-2011 vacated, Paterno moves from 409 wins to 298, dropping him from first to 12th on the winningest NCAA football coach list. Penn State also will have six bowl wins and two conference championships erased.
Bottom line:  Penn St. will be out of BCS contention for at least half a decade.  This punishment was way too severe and I feel sorry for all of the football players that had their hard work taken away from them by the horrible actions of one sick assistant coach.  To their credit, Penn State’s resiliency throughout this difficult time has yielded them a 6-3 record on the season.  They are Bowl eligible with 3 games to go.  It is a shame they will not get to participate for something that team has earned.


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