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It's time for Penn State to move on from its ugliest hour

August 09, 2012
  • Penn State Coach Bill O'Brien says: We all have to come together and realize why were in the position were in. We have to stop arguing about it. We have to move forward.
Penn State Coach Bill O'Brien says: We all have to come together and… (Gene J. Puskar / Associated…)

Penn State followers held Joe Paterno’s word as gospel for four decades, but now, in the ugliest hour of the school’s need, some won’t even listen to their new coach.

Despite what anyone in Happy Valley thinks of the heavy sanctions recently handed down by NCAA President Mark Emmert, it’s time for clingers-on to the Paterno legacy to step back and let time heal.

“It’s time to think of ways to help us through this,” first-year Coach Bill O’Brien told USA Today on Thursday. “We all have to come together and realize why we’re in the position we’re in. We have to stop arguing about it. We have to move forward.”

These rank among the wisest words spoken in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State and the nation since November.

This hasn’t stopped a few former players, trustees and Paterno family members from threatening appeals and lawsuits.

The university’s board of trustees, according to ESPN, will hold a special meeting Sunday to formally ratify the consent of decree signed by Penn State President Rodney Erickson and the NCAA.

Only a few trustees have said they want to appeal the sanctions, which the NCAA has stated cannot be appealed.

If it takes a special meeting to move this sordid chapter of Penn State closer to an end, get on with it.

Look, no one in this story comes out a winner. People and programs will, and should, suffer.

The NCAA used extraordinary and unprecedented powers to take action in an unprecedented case.

You can respectfully argue that due process was bypassed and fear a more far-reaching power grab if you also agree that something radical had to be done.

This wasn’t a garden variety booster scandal — this was the biggest scandal in sports history.

The NCAA is a membership, not a democracy. You agree, as a member, to rules.

Penn State, if it wants, can withdraw from the NCAA and join the NAIA -- or form its own organization. The better answer is to heed Thursday's words of the coach who has agreed to lead Penn State from the depths of the abyss.

O'Brien is right: It’s time to move on.

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