Although the NCAA could never give Penn State true justice for the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky and the cover-up by the school, they certainly did their best to move the process forward by releasing sanctions against the school on Monday morning.
By now, you know the sanctions as well as we do here at Crystal Ball Run, but for those who’ve been under a rock for the last 10 hours, they include: A $60 million fine, four-year bowl ban, four-year scholarship reduction, the removal of all wins from 1998-2011 and the ability for any players currently in the program to transfer to a school of their choice. While the decision of the NCAA wasn’t quite the Death Penalty, it was pretty darn close.
And for the most part, the majority of college football fans seem to be in agreement on one thing: If the NCAA had do to something in this case, the sanctions handed down Monday were just about everything that anyone could ask for. The school has been punished, football has been de-emphasized, and most importantly, money has been earmarked for the victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Regardless, there is one party that seems none too happy with the announcement today, and that party not surprisingly is the remaining Paterno family.
As they do in situations like this, the Paterno family released a statement which read:
"Sexual abuse is reprehensible, especially when it involves children, and no one starting with Joe Paterno condones or minimizes it. The horrific acts committed by Jerry Sandusky shock the conscience of every decent human being. How Sandusky was able to get away with his crimes for so long has yet to be fully understood, despite the claims and assertions of the Freeh report.
"The release of the Freeh report has triggered an avalanche of vitriol, condemnation and posthumous punishment on Joe Paterno. The NCAA has now become the latest party to accept the report as the final word on the Sandusky scandal. The sanctions announced by the NCAA today defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best.
"That the President, the Athletic Director and the Board of Trustees accepted this unprecedented action by the NCAA without requiring a full due process hearing before the Committee on Infractions is an abdication of their responsibilities and a breach of their fiduciary duties to the University and the 500,000 alumni. Punishing past, present and future students of the University because of Sandusky’s crimes does not serve justice. This is not a fair or thoughtful action; it is a panicked response to the public's understandable revulsion at what Sandusky did.
"The point of due process is to protect against this sort of reflexive action. Joe Paterno was never interviewed by the University or the Freeh Group. His counsel has not been able to interview key witnesses as they are represented by counsel related to ongoing litigation. We have had no access to the records reviewed by the Freeh group. The NCAA never contacted our family or our legal counsel. And the fact that several parties have pending trials that could produce evidence and testimony relevant to this matter has been totally discounted.
"Unfortunately all of these facts have been ignored by the NCAA, the Freeh Group and the University."
So yeah, about that. Where do we even begin?
Obviously this statement comes from a place of passion, and in defense of the Paterno’s, they are standing behind a husband, father and grandfather they truly love. Simply put, most of us can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to see the legacy of someone you truly love raked through the coals the way that Joe Paterno’s has over these last few months.
At the same time, this family really needs to stop talking. While they make some salient points about due process and the justice system, what they seem to be missing are themes that most of the rest of the world seems to understand. The most important one being: This is no longer about Joe Paterno. It’s about fixing the system at Penn State that allowed this to happen, and ensuring that nothing like it ever happens again. Regardless of how they came to their conclusions, the NCAA did in fact start that process today.
As a matter of fact, this statement really does hammer home one big picture theme that I couldn’t help but continue to think as this whole process played out: The biggest problem at Penn State over the last couple decades was that no one ever told Joe Paterno “no.” It allowed him the power to help cover-up Sandusky’s crimes (along with other high-ranking Penn State officials), and has clearly trickled down to his family. Simply put, the remaining Paterno family cannot conceptualize the truth about their beloved family member; in essence, that he was a criminal. Were he alive today, Joe Paterno could actually be in jail.
Ultimately that’s irrelevant now, but what isn’t is the idea that the Paterno family just needs to stop talking. This isn’t about them, and never will be going forward. It’s about getting the victims the help that they need.
Hopefully at some point they’ll realize that, although truthfully I’m not too optimistic.
For all his opinions, articles and insight on college football, please follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.
Certainly a very written response from the Paterno attorny who, by the way, did a great job in getting the family a lot of ill gotten money from the university. The timeliness of this move was quite beneficial for the family because they wouldn't have received squat had the truth been known at the time the university was so generous to Paterno's estate. That money would have been bettered served paying down the huge penalties that have affected the university. The family should be grateful they won't have to work the rest of their lives. Joe Pa would have sat in jail for a few years with the monsignior from Philly for his role in the cover up. Joe did devote his life to the university and made significant contributions for many years. Joe had no business coaching in major division 1 program well into his 80s though. Was it arrogance, ego, or to maintain the cover up, or all of the above? It can be easily argued that he strong armed everyone with his control and power to secure his time at Penn State well beyond his time. Joe was a very smart man but not smart enough to pull off a cover up of this magnitude. I'm sure many beleive Joe knew Penn State's house of cards would go down and it coud be controlled with him still at the helm. There is no doubt that he wanted the best for Penn State throughout and made a huge error in judgement that ultimately cost so much to so many. Everyone found guilty wants to point the finger to cast doubt on the verdict. The Paterno family appears to have been blinded their entire life which is what can happen when you have such a controlling infuence. Each of the family members needs to build their own legacy because Joe Paterno's legacy appears to be sealed and no attorney will be able to use loopholes in the judicial system to exonerate him.
The family needs to stop talking? No, it's people like you that need to stop talking. What the NCAA has done is comparable to a sitting president or the US Senate saying the that the Constitution suddenly doesn't matter.....that based on heightened revulsion in the court of public opinion, all rules are out the window and whomever can pile on the biggest and the best gets the biggest cheer from the indignant mob. I am not and have never been a Penn State fan, but I've seen no evidence presented that Penn State Football has violated a single NCAA guideline. What Sandusky did is clearly a (heinous) criminal matter; what anyone who covered up his crimes did should clearly be considered a series of criminal acts; what criminal acts those people committed as paid administrators of PSU clearly (albeit, sadly) opens a rather respectable university to huge liability. BUT WHAT THE HELL DOES ANY OF THAT HAVE TO DO WITH NCAA RULES VIOLATIONS? Sure the NCAA felt revulsion and, being human, might wish that there was some actual NCAA rules violation that would allow them to attack the entities that caused their revulsion. But for them to do what they did is no different than me as an individual whipping up a Molotov cocktail and flinging it at the PSU admin building simply because I was mad as hell. I don't get to take the law into my own hands.....neither do you.....and neither should the NCAA. And every single media professional that sits by and doesn't point these realities out is quite simply sanctioning an act of retribution that is completely outside the NCAA's jurisdiction. THIS IS A MATTER FOR CRIMINAL (AND, LATER, CIVIL) AUTHORITIES TO HANDLE, AND, PERHAPS, EVENTUALLY PUT BEFORE JURORS; THOSE JURORS HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF HEARING ALL OF THE FACTS AND THEN FOCUSING THEIR REVULSION ON THE GUILTY PARTIES (on behalf of people like you and me). We are all entitled to our opinions about Sundusky, Paterno et al, and the institution of PSU.....but the NCAA decided that its opinions about matters beyond NCAA guidelines somehow justified a decision to say, "Screw it, this makes me really angry, so I'm giving into the temptation to throw that Molotov cocktail, and hopefully everyone will go along with it because I'm an 'official' entity". That is just WRONG.....and someday soon both the NCAA and media professionals like you should have to answer for what you have done here. You're not truth-seekers....you're not justice seekers.... you are weak-minded mob members seeking immediate gratification simply because it feels good. The NCAA has no more jurisdiction on matters like this than the judges on American Idol. Would you have been foolish enough to pile on in support of them?
@CynthiaHawkins Please don't take this personally, but I don't think that I'm the one that doesn't get it.....and, here's why I say that: The job of the NCAA rules committee is very clearly defined as one which polices the activities of each program (vs. very specific guidelines) to ensure that no school takes unfair advantage over any other program. No recruiting rule violations...no disallowed compensation of players....nothing that gives unfair advantage to one program vs. any other. That's their charter....in writing.....spelled out very clearly for anyone that wishes to understand their role.....nothing more and nothing less. Now, if you come at this issue very angry at PSU for allowing the horrible things that happened to take place, you might well be inclined to think that it is justified to suddenly redefine the NCAA's role, ignore the clearly defined guidelines, and just take on the job punishing the PSU program. Look back through the well-documented history of NCAA sanctions against any program. In EVERY case, wins were vacated, scholarships were cut back, fines were levied IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO THE UNFAIR ADVANTAGE THAT ONE PROGRAM GAINED OVER OTHER PROGRAMS BY VIOLATING EXTREMELY WELL-DEFINED GUIDELINES ABOUT HOW TO PLAY FAIRLY. I am not defending the things that happened at PSU....how could anyone.....but the things that were done very simply did not have anything to do with violating NCAA guidelines and taking unfair advantage vs. other programs. The terrible things that happened at PSU violated CRIMINAL statutes; statutes that will almost certainly lead to people going to jail, and CIVIL suits that will almost certainly lead to PSU being liable for what happened to the children that were harmed. That is why I say that for the NCAA to take on a role that COMPLETELY disregards its own guidelines because they are revolted by what happened is no different than me as an individual getting very angry and going vigilante. People are very upset and just can't wait to see punishment meted out, and because of these raw emotions, they are quite happy to turn a blind eye to the clearly improper actions that the NCAA rules committee has taken. We have a legal system with people who are elected/appointed/trained to deal with these types of issues. Do we really want a bunch of guys who are paid to police recruiting violations, etc., to usurp the roles of the police/ professional investigators/ judges/ juries/ etc.? Jurisdictions exist for reasons that are generally very sound. I want the truth....I want justice.....all of us do. But, if you spend even ten seconds thinking rationally about what's going on now, it is CLEAR that this is NOT the way to achieve those extraordinarily important objectives. This is all about instant gratification and who can get the loudest cheer from the angry mob. It's easy to say, who cares who dishes out the pain....they deserve what they are getting. But to do so defies the rule of law and the fundamental structures that define our society......and next time YOU might be on the wrong end of someone grabbing for popularity instead doing their job within the rules that define that job.
@dmgbl106 @pl9887 @CynthiaHawkins Unfortunately for Joe Paterno, he never had his day in court and to testify as to what he saw an what he knew. At the outset, Querry reported what HE saw and in turn Joe told the president of PSU what Querry saw. If Joe never saw these acts of pedophilia, Paterno is guilty of nothing. How do we know if the head of PSU did or not did call local police to investigate? Maybe the police failed to act as being loyal PSU fans probably swept it under the rug for fear of a setting off a scandal. In any event, a scapegoat is made of Paterno for allegedly not doing what was right. I suppose kicking a deceased man under the bus is fair for some people. Punish Sandusky severely and a large fine for PSU for not acting in the best interests of the victims.
@pl9887 @CynthiaHawkins No, I'm not a member of the Paterno family. Are you? Neither am I a PSU fan. I'm not aware of knowing anyone who attended PSU. I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a cop. I'm not a pedophile. I've never been to a PSU game. I don't recall ever having been within 100 miles of PSU. I grew up thousands of miles away from PSU, and I now live in another place that is also thousands of miles from PSU. I'm an old guy now, but I once played 4 years of a different mainstream sport at a D1 school (non-scholarship). I have raised three sons. I have spent years coaching kids in youth leagues as a volunteer, and the thought of harming one has never crossed my mind. So, WHY DO YOU SEEM TO BE ANGRY AT ME? What did you read in my post that gave you the impression that I am trying to defend PSU or anyone named Paterno or Sandusky? What did you read in my post that implies that I don't UNDERSTAND that 'this is about criminal acts.....'? It IS about CRIMINAL acts (and will soon be a shark tank of CIVIL suits and counter-suits). My entire point has been that it IS about CRIMES being committed, and that it's NOT about violation of ANY guideline that the NCAA rules committee EVER wrote into its own rule book governing FAIR PLAY BETWEEN COMPETING SCHOOLS. Doesn't anyone else see the absurdity? Doesn't anyone else wonder why the NCAA rules committee is even involved here? People are debating whether the NCAA-imposed penalties are severe enough or too severe or just right, when there ARE NO NCAA FAIR PLAY RULES VIOLATIONS. The NCAA rules committee has ignored its own charter and rule book and appointed itself as the official spokesperson and goon/enforcer on behalf of a public that is enraged over CRIMINAL acts. I want the Truth....I want Justice.....I want the CORRECT (elected/ appointed/ professional) authorities to run this show. I don't want a bunch of NCAA rules committee clowns conjuring up some new 'moral authority' role for themselves, that they don't deserve, and which I believe they are doing purely for self-aggrandizing reasons. They need to stick to their very well defined role, get off the stage, and let the appropriate CRIMINAL/CIVIL authorities carry the ball on behalf of citizens who have been victimized. Pleasing the angry public with sound bytes on ESPN when you have no jurisdiction on the matter is not what is needed here....and if there is any Justice, they will SOMEDAY (after more important business is attended to) be compelled to answer for their power-grabbing actions, too.
@dmgbl106 @CynthiaHawkins Are you a member of the Paterno family? You really don't understand what this is about. It is not about the Paterno family or Joe Paterno but about the criminal acts that occurred in his "kingdom" at Penn State. Acts he chose not to end and report to authorities. You have a coach actually witnessing abuse and leaving rather than removing the child from the scene and maybe punching Sandusky in the mouth. How cowardly of everyone in the athletic department at Penn State. The Paterno family needs counseling as much as the victims.