Jobu wraps up the weekend Penn State coverage with his own thoughts.
I tend to be a rational person, so I see both sides to the debate about whether or not the sanctions levied against Penn State were fair. On the one hand I feel for the student athletes who are committed to Penn State for next season. Many of them gathered just after the NCAA ruling to state their loyalty to the university (pictured above). If only their coach and athletic director had been half as brave, they wouldn’t find themselves caught in the middle of this scandal. They really should feel duped by Paterno and the Penn State system. When they committed to play football for the Nittany Lions, they were coming to play for a competitive team with a chance to win a national championship every season. Now what do they do?
No one would blame them for transferring (rumor has it that Silas Redd, their leading rusher from last season, is already looking to head West to USC). The program at Penn State is not only marred by the horrific crimes perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky (who I really hope does get a taste of his own medicine in prison), it could be left in complete shambles by this decision. It’s not the death penalty but, like Clu said, it’s damn close. The loss of funds and scholarships will probably take many, many years to overcome. You can’t compete with other schools if you can’t hand out scholarships to big time players.
Those players that do stay with the program will probably be looked upon as heroes by the die hard Penn State fans (loyalty and sports tend to be bonded very closely as far as fans are concerned). Unfortunately for them, they won’t be playing on a competitive team, and they will undoubtedly be mercilessly booed by opposing crowds (people are ignorant, they’ll boo the players). I am sure that opposing fans will chant all sorts of Sandusky related things. That’s the ugly side of sports fandom, and it will always be there to haunt Bill O’Brien and Penn State.
If it were me, I’d go play somewhere else. There’s loyally and there’s stupidity. The players that have legitimate NFL talent and promise should get out of Dodge as fast as possible and head somewhere they can shine without the Sandusky’s shadow leering at them as they get dressed for the games. It’s going to take decades for Penn State to shake not just the sanctions imposed upon them by the NCAA, but the stigma of being the school that let Jerry Sandusky molest kids like it was going out of style.
As far as JoePa goes, the guy knew what his assistant coach was doing and did absolutely nothing, even after Sandusky was no longer employed as his assistant. I know that the coverup went well above Paterno’s head and he should not be handed all the blame, but when you’re the face of a program, it’s in the good and bad times. Unfortunately, his legacy has to take the brunt of this disgracing.
I do have a hard time completely agreeing with vacating Penn State’s wins from 1998-2011. When it comes to sports, I am a purist. Games are won on the field and not in the locker room shower or under the rug in JoePa’s office. The athletes who gave their all to win those games aren’t to blame, so why take that away from them? If there were some way to take wins from JoePa without vacating them for the program or the players I’d vote for that, but there isn’t. Unfortunately, those wins are gone now. They never happened for anyone, and that’s a bit of a shame for those who weren’t to blame.
Anyway, just to wrap this up, I always thought that whatever the NCAA decided to do to punish Penn State was going to be justifiable. What they allowed to go on for decades (do we really think this only started in 1998 and that no one knew about it until then?) is inexcusable and despicable. The NCAA could have blown up Beaver Stadium and I would have shrugged and said “yeah well, I guess, because that’s where the crimes happened.”
I really hope that something positive can come from this entire situation. If doing the right thing to protect children from sexual predators isn’t a good enough reason to blow the whistle on child molesters, then maybe the loss of a football program will properly motivate athletic directors, head coaches assistant coaches or even players to speak out when they see something as awful as what happened at Penn State. Sadly, sometimes football is more important to these people than justice. Also, any highly public case of this nature is going to help victims of other crimes to come forward too. If anything can be salvaged, salvage it an let’s all move forward.
We will not be covering this again at Jobu’s Rum, except maybe an office party when Sandusky dies in prison.
Featured image courtesy of: AP Photo/The Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark
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