When the Penn State University President, Rodney Erickson, was asked why they didn’t oppose all of the sanctions the NCAA handed down, he responded by telling reporters that he was given an ultimatum. Either accept all of this punishment, or accept a four-year death penalty for the football program, and fines that exceeded $60 Million.
I get it, the NCAA is really mad about what happened at Penn State. But SMU wasn’t given the death penalty until they had a major NCAA violation while still on probation for a previous major violation; all within a five-year span. Again, I am in no way trying to belittle, excuse or defend the Penn State football program for what happened. It is perhaps the biggest atrocity that has ever occurred in college sports. Yet, this is a matter for the courts to decide, specifically through civil lawsuits against the University, filed by the victims. How does the NCAA giving a four-year death penalty to the current NCAA program have anything to do with punishing the correct people? How does that make the victims feel better about what happened and that justice has happened? The kids currently at program were 7 or 8 years old, at most, when Jerry Sandusky stopped coaching at Penn State. There is a STRONG chance that until this year, not a single one of those players even knew who he was. Yet, the NCAA still wanted to punish them.
A four-year death penalty would have killed this program for life. You can’t recover from not having a program for four years. SMU had to take an extra year off because they could not field a team after a one-year death penalty. And then it was over a decade before they made it to a bowl game again. Why a four-year death penalty? Why not just try to kill the program if they are so intent on using “special jurisdiction” to make up rules on the fly? Better yet, why has Miami(FL) still not had punishment dished out? Why is Central Florida just hearing about their sanctions on July 31st, after being investigated since August 17th, 2011? Why did it take them four years to investigate USC? I realize these are some of the same points as before, but seriously, does the NCAA only care about keeping the public happy? Is Central Florida not as important to them because they don’t have the wide-reaching exposure that Penn State has? Why, with executives making over six figures a year, aren’t they able to afford to pay a better task force to enforce and investigate rules more quickly and efficiently? In 2010, they had 14 executives making nearly $6 Million, why? Why is the NCAA an unchecked governing body? Isn’t that unconstitutional? At each turn there are more and more questions that the NCAA should have to answer, but unfortunately they never will.
Here’s a hypothetical that Mark Silverman brought up: If a math teacher sexually assaults a student or students on school grounds, and then the district finds out 10 years later, and the Math teacher has already been fired or retired, does the entire math department in that school get cut? Do they get fined? Or, are the few that knew about it and didn’t say anything get laid off, while the others are unaffected? Sure it’s not exactly the same thing, but you cannot tell me that it’s not damn close.
What the NCAA did was completely illogical and will forever bother me. Of course the Penn State President is going to do whatever he can to keep the football program around. That program generates roughly $60 Million a year, and I would venture to bet that a lot of that money pays for the sports at the school, like gymnastics and swimming, that are non-revenue sports. Had the NCAA killed the Penn State program for four-years, then it is more than likely that Penn State would have had to cut other Varsity sports that were supported by the football revenue. How is that fair? Now you would be affecting sports, students, and coaches, that had LITERALLY nothing to do with what transpired. Their only “crime” would be that they went to Penn State the same time that this horrible story and situation finally came out.
I want to reiterate that I realize what happened to those children was completely disgusting and unfair. I personally have lost all respect for Joe Paterno and consider him to be lucky that he is dead right now. But, does that mean it is fair to punish those that had nothing to do with what happened? Doesn’t an eye for an eye make the whole world blind? Why is the NCAA allowed to make up rules and jurisdictions to appease the public masses that have no idea what they are talking about? To quote the great Tommy Lee Jones in his role as Agent K, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” Put all these people around an important situation with a lot of details, give the majority of them minimum facts and evidence, and soon enough you have an uneducated mob calling for ridiculous punishments that should not even be allowed. People typing furiously on a keyboard from the protection of an anonymous username, all the while spewing their ignorance and trying to force their views upon those that disagree and chastising those that refuse to join them.
Makes you kind of excited for that election in November, doesn’t it?