Penn State students react as the NCAA sanctions against the university… (Gene J. Puskar / Associated…)
The NCAA has given Penn State punishments similar to, although stronger than, the punishments given to USC for Reggie Bush's indirect payments. But here the punishment does not fit the crimes as it did with USC. These crimes of pedophilia and the cover-ups parallel those in the Catholic Church.
Of course, the NCAA does not have powers of criminal law, but it collectively feels that it has to do something, by golly, so it resorts to its old punishments for NCAA infractions — no bowl games, fewer scholarships, etc.
The trouble with these punishments are not that they are too strong, as some Penn State supporters claim, but that they are irrelevant to the legal and moral crimes committed by the perp and his cohorts.
It was the court system's job to take care of Jerry Sandusky and they did. Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in jail. Did we need the NCAA to get involved? Did they really need to destroy the football program and ruin the college experience for 85 kids? Once again the NCAA has punished people who had nothing to do with the crime. Did the university system really need the sanctions on Penn State to keep them in line?
The NCAA did not need to act. We have the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to do the job. However, if the NCAA was going to get involved, they had to go all in and issue the death sentence. Going into the water knee deep is cowardly.
The NCAA wants to frame this as being about the victims. The victims are no better off due to the NCAA actions.
The NCAA's decision to drop the hammer on the powers that be at Penn State for their part in the cover-up of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case is the right one. This is exactly how the system is supposed to work: When someone breaks the rules, you punish them severely enough so that everyone else can taste it, and hopefully, learn a lesson. A number of institutions might want to take notes: the SEC, the Congress, the Church. They could all benefit from this cautionary tale.
It is incredibly unfair and wrongheaded for the NCAA to punish innocent Penn State student-athletes by suspending the football program for the sins of coaches and university administrators. The proper remedy is to bar the culpable coaches and administrators from involvement with NCAA sports, and impose a significant monetary fine on Penn State. Unlike their elders, current and future Penn State players — many of whom count on athletic scholarships to afford school — did absolutely nothing wrong.
To those who claim that Joe Paterno's lifetime of good deeds should not be eradicated by one mistake, I suggest a recalculation of your math. Joe Paterno remained silent for 14 years. During this time period, Joe awakened each and every day to another opportunity to do the right thing, which by my calculation increases his number of mistakes to approximately 5,110.
Maury D. Benemie
Let me get to the chase. Penn State did not receive the death penalty for one reason, and one reason, only: money. The Big Ten did not want to lose mucho bucks. They would lose money for every game Penn State is off television. The scheduling becomes a nightmare.
Penn State should have self imposed the death penalty upon its own program and appealed any NCAA sanction. They could have controlled their own destiny and give the NCAA the finger. The reason being the current sanctions amount to the death penalty. I say Penn State would be better off to suspend football for an indefinite period of time to demonstrate that it is all about the money.
Of course, the better course of action would be for the Big Ten to kick Penn State out and invite Caltech. Hey. They are on probation. They would love to have the $500,000 for each mercenary game along with travel expenses. They could focus on what is important to us: earthquakes.
With the NCAA vacating all of Penn State's wins between 1998 and 2011, that means the Nittany Lions' last official victory was against Wisconsin on Nov. 22, 1997, when Jerry Sandusky was still an active coach. How bitterly ironic.
"Hanleywood" may not smoothly roll off the tongue phonetically as "Mannywood" in the spirit of the Ramirez name, but after witnessing the constant anemic play of both Juan Uribe and a pre-disabled-list Dee Gordon this season, the signing of Hanley Ramirez to anchor the left side of the infield — as well being a true offensive threat — could help propel the team to consider a new, albeit longer moniker come October: "Dodger Stadium; Home of the 2012 World Series Champions."
Mark J. Featherstone