The Death Penalty for Penn State Football

It’s embarrassing to tag this with a “Sports” category as this really isn’t a sports issue. It’s a human decency issue. When you turn a blind eye to child rape in order to protect a football program and its coach, that’s just disgusting.
Yesterday, a report commissioned by Penn State University and completed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, was released and it implicated officials at all levels of the university as being complicit. From the University president to the athletic director even down to head coach Joe Paterno. They were all aware of former coach Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation actions. And they did nothing about it. Even worse, they acknowledged in writing, via email that they were putting the university at risk by not reporting the allegations. So they knowingly violated the law and even worse, violated the children a second time who had been raped by not reporting this. By not reporting the allegations to the authorities, it led to additional children being raped by Sandusky. These were acts that definitely could have been prevented if he had already been put in a cell to rot for decades.
In my opinion, the NCAA should institute its Death Penalty on Penn State football. Basically what this means is the school eliminates the sport for a period determined by the NCAA. Once the time is up, they can start over.
The NCAA has various levels of penalties they can apply to the program, from the loss of scholarships and fines, putting the program on probation, or all the way to the total elimination of the sport. The death penalty is reserved for instances where there is a total “lack of institutional control.” Sometimes you get a rogue coach that gets out of control. They have lesser penalties for that sort of thing, especially when the athletic department themselves step in and institute a punishment. Sometimes it is the whole athletic department that is out of control. That’s where the university can step in and clean it up, along with the NCAA. Then you have the level where the entire institution has lost their way, from top to bottom. That is the case here with Penn State. This is the situation that the death penalty was created for.
If the NCAA applies the death penalty to Penn State football, one of the crown jewels in college sports, it will send a message to every college president that no one is sacred, no one will be spared if your athletics program is out of control. It’s a huge understatement to say that allegations like child molestation are serious and are far more important than any game or program. The entire Penn State University administration failed to realize this and now they need to pay the price. I hope the NCAA does the right thing.
Addendum: For those wondering why there’s no mention of criminal charges in this post, it is because I took that as a given. Jerry Sandusky was convicted of charges. Joe Paterno is dead, and I’m not aware of any other PSU officials facing charges. But of course anyone involved who broke a law should be charged.
Also, visitors from Instapundit, please feel free to poke around the rest of this web site (Anchor Rising) join in the discussion and come back again.

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brassband
brassband
9 years ago

Big-time college sports is a stew of hypocrisy driven by one and only one thing: Greed.
Joe Nocera of the New York Times, in a series of columns over recent months, has documented some really outrageous enforcement actions by the NCAA.
Sandusky’s exploitation of his young victims should come as no surprise; exploitation is the currency of major college football and basketball . . .

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

THinking back ovver my own life, I wonder if there has been some sort of social compact at work.
The guy who ran the bike shop in my town was known to be “fond of boys”. A friend stabbed him in the hand with a screw driver and we never heard anything of it. The police must have known of him.
All of the boys knew to stay away from the school nurse, so far as I know she stayed until retirement.
Randy schoolteachers and “moms” were not unknown, I don’t recall ever hearing of an arrest.
I also taught for a very short period. so I know all about teenage “temptresses”. They would sit down front, pull up their skirts, then drop a pencil so you would look at the noise. The local judge’s daughter was probably the worst. I was 22 and I never thought to “report them”, if I did “for what”. I would probably have found myself in trouble for noticing/looking.

Phil
Phil
9 years ago

My comments are meant to be seen in response to Justin’s idea that the advancement of human society is tied to the imposition of rules governing social structures. Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky are two examples of highly successful men whose adherence to those social structures such as Christian worship and traditional marriage and family put them in the top levels of public perception. Judges in Pa. placed children into the hands of Sandusky and his foundation. Paterno through his incredible power and influence at Penn State protected a child molester for decades. His image as the ultimate family man and football coach melded two powerful parts of what many believe men should aspire to. Traditional faith and family valves were important components of the image of both of these men.
Posted by Phil at July 12, 2012 9:14 AM

Phil
Phil
9 years ago

Football and Faith is as American as apple pie. What is not uniquely American is the fact that the powerful prey on the weak or as the author writes ” The weak are the meat the strong eat”. The fact that Penn State did nothing to protect the children (where’s Monique with her ridiculous misspelling of children) only underlines where their priorities truly lie. Money. Big time money.

Phil
Phil
9 years ago

Very business friendly.

KenW
KenW
9 years ago

Where is the Catholic Church on this one…..Oh……they rape little altar boys too and hide it!!!!

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
9 years ago

Phil is gloating at his “discovery”of hypocrisy driven by money-is he gonna discover the New World next?
None of this negates the value of taking care of one’s family,or for that matter,Christian faith,if that is your thing(it ain’t mine,but whatever).
I find the whole thing sickening beyond words-I hope Sandusky gets shanked on the yard,but he’ll probably do his time in PC.
Probably every vestige of Paterno should be eliminated at Penn State-he looks damn near as guilty as Sandusky-this is a PUBLIC college,and the officials found responsible for the coverup should lose their pensions and healthcare-Pennsylvania taxpayers will be on the hook for enough already in damages.

OldTimeLefty
9 years ago

No, joe
Phil is not gloating. The “gloat” comes from you, not him. Phil is pointing out to the high priests of Greed is Good the inherent flaws in giving a free pass to moneyed interests and pointing out a very visible flaw in the philosophy that equates big with evil and excludes business from the word “big”. It’s time to rethink how the problem is viewed. In other words, expand a bit.
OldTimeLefty

LCp
LCp
9 years ago

Death Penalty is the starting point. The only thing at issue here should be the length of the penalty. Starting at 10 years and going up from there until someone makes a rational argument why it should shorter.

LCp
LCp
9 years ago

Death Penalty is the starting point. The only thing at issue here should be the length of the penalty. Starting at 10 years and going up from there until someone makes a rational argument why it should shorter.

Numptie
Numptie
9 years ago

I am guessing that the NCAA will do nothing, allowing any sanctions to play out in the courts.
As with Joe Pa, the NCAA is more concerned with image than with doing the right thing.
Child rape is the next goal for those currently lobbying for normalization of gay marriage. It’s just a matter of time until NAMBLA has a seat at the table in a democrat government.

Tblakely
Tblakely
9 years ago

The death penalty would be appropriate but likely not necessary. How many top athletes would even be interested in going to Penn State now? I suspect all their sports programs are tainted in the eyes of athletes, not just football players.
Hell, It wouldn’t suprise me if there is a big drop in the student population as a whole.

Enzyte Bob
Enzyte Bob
9 years ago

Call me unimpressed. I’m not a huge fan of the hysterical witch hunts that take place whenever children are involved. To understand what happens when hysterical people are allowed to run amok, Google “Gerald Amirault” and see how an innocent man got to spend 18 years in jail thanks to a bunch of hysterical people running around “protecting children”. Paterno did the best he could with the information he had at the time. His job was to coach football, not run around and play policeman or child welfare advocate.

jetty
jetty
9 years ago

Death penalty? Surely you jest. Too much money in college football for the NCAA to do that. Poor SMU still hasn’t recovered; think of the revenue lost the last 25 years. I think the NCAA has learned its lesson. Keep that gravy-train flowing!
.
As for myself, I think I’ll tune out college football.

CatoRenasci
CatoRenasci
9 years ago

The NCAA won’t do jack sh*t. But they should.
Eliminate Penn State football for a decade – long enough that no one involved with the current program will still be there.
Do something for the current players – they’re innocent and would be victims if they’re just dumped. Let them all transfer, with their scholarships paid by Penn State as part-penance, to any other Division IAA football program within the conference (Big 10).
Anyone who knew and didn’t report should face a lifetime ban from NCAA sports: any school who hires the banned person would be banned from competition as long as the banned person was employed there.

The Animal
The Animal
9 years ago

Sure, let’s give PSU sports the death penalty. By all means, cancel the football season for one, two, ten, twenty years and punish the hell out of all the players and coaches who had NOT ONE THING to do with Jerry Sandusky.
To paraphrase a great line from a great movie – “If a fox stole your chickens, would you slaughter your pig because he saw the fox? No. You would hunt the fox.”
In the case, the pig didn’t even see the fox. All the players from that era are gone, gone, gone. Your impotent rage is simply misplaced and ill-advised. Think of something constructive to do and stop your whining.

Andy McGill
Andy McGill
9 years ago

Duke basketball should get the death penalty too for having too powerful a coach. In fact, get rid of all the strong football and basketball programs.
Once that is over, look for more people to punish.

Milwaukee
Milwaukee
9 years ago

The Wikipedia article on Jerry Sandusky describes him as one of The Best assistant coaches to never be a head coach. That was in 1999. Penn State knew then, but they gave him a generous retirement bonus and access to the athletic facilities. At access helped keep his Second Mile program going. Yes, a death penalty of sum of the ages of the victims. Too much, how about one year for every victim?
I think I need to tune out all sports. In baseball we have thousands of healthy high school students getting the Tommy John surgery, because it makes them a more powerful pitcher. How is that different from performance enhancing drugs? In the Olympics there are women who will deliberately get pregnant before the Olympics so they can have an abortion just before the Games, to get an “Abortion doping” advantage.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

If Baylor Basketball didn’t get the death penalty when one player murdered another, Penn State football should be ok. The NCAA is more concerned about its rules than the US penal code.

Steve White
Steve White
9 years ago

My humble suggestions:
1) Death penalty for the mens football program. Review after 5 years for potential reinstatement, with external review required prior to instituting a new football program.
2) Dismiss all members of the Board of Trustees, the university President, and the Provost. The state governor can appoint new Board members, and the new Board will find a new president and provost.
3) Remove Penn State from the Big Ten.
4) Require Penn State to leave Division I of the NCAA; they can join and abide by all the rules of Division III. No potential move back to Division I for at least ten years.
Harsh? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Do 1-4 above and you will never, ever have a university in this country allow a sports program to be run the way Penn State’s was run, and you won’t ever again have a Sandusky problem in a university sports program (the English Department might be another matter).

BradnSA
BradnSA
9 years ago

They didn’t violate any NCAA rules that I can see, so they are limited as to what they can do (I was certified on the rules of the NCAA about 20 years ago). What is more disconcerting is the same people that covered this up also had a hand in deciding about climategate.

Old but Not Stupid
Old but Not Stupid
9 years ago

Milwaukee at 10:43 PM….
Tommy John surgery does NOT make high school pitchers more powerful. They have to have it because of ligament damage from throwing breaking (curve) balls too early in their physical development.

Dave Boz
Dave Boz
9 years ago

As we speak, the NCAA is in the process of making football even more important as a money-maker through the addition of playoff games. Not a single person associated with major college football has expressed even a moment’s anxiety that these additional games might further pervert the so-called academic mission of the universities. This playoff format will grow ever larger in years to come, because the sport has become larger than the schools that sponsor it. Penn State is just one small example of this glorification of athletics at the expense of other values; there are other offenders who feed off this money-laden system in many other ways. There is no hope of reform until football is de-emphasized and returned to its rightful role as an extracurricular activity for actual students, not as a gigantic dollar machine that exists as an end to itself. The Ivy League showed the way decades ago, and it still represents the right path for any institution that considers itself a school rather than an athletic factory.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
9 years ago

Posted by Enzyte Bob “Google “Gerald Amirault” and see how an innocent man got to spend 18 years in jail thanks to a bunch of hysterical people running around “protecting children”. ” There is little doubt that hysteria can run amok and cause terrific damage. For instance, the “Miami Method” which brought Janet Butchereno to prominance. We have now accepted that child molestors are not curable. Just 40 years ago we accepted that homosexuals were “curable”, now it is not even a disease. I do not have the answer, but I am fairly certain that a rush to judgment is not among the likely answers. I recall that activities of the coach at my daughter’s prep school were kept concealed, and I am sure there are many more examples. Societies are not held together by laws,they are held together by moral concepts. I don’t think harsher laws are the answer. I will ask the men in the audience to reflect back and remember if they were ever solicited by older women. I suspect many were. On reflection, what punishment did those women deserve? In the example under consideration, it was men with boys. There is no evidence presented that the boys had homosexual tendancies. Is this “perversion” by itself? The men/man was in a position of authority, that is certainly an aggravating factor. Without doubt it is not helpful to “good order and discipline”. In fact, it goes to the heart of any “merit system”. When I took history, it was suggested that Capt. Dreyfus’s troubles began when he refused a homosexual advance.(I cannot substantiate that) THere is currently a case of a 14 year old girl being molested by a teacher in Seekonk. She returned for more 3-5 times. I am not sure what this means, perhaps it means… Read more »

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

Wow, so many new commenters on this topic. Anyone mind saying where you found a link to this article? Thanks!

Publius
Publius
9 years ago

“Thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Frank Resnik
Frank Resnik
9 years ago

What makes anyone think this is about sports as against a public so called institution of higher learning being more interested in money than truth. Yes ban them from intercollegiate sports programs; but also demand the same quality of independent investigation of their faculty research. See if the faculty sells out truth to gain grants. The departments that sacrificed truth for dollars should be closed as well.

Marvel Goose
Marvel Goose
9 years ago

The problem with the death penalty is that you punish the people who had nothing to do with it. Far better to punish the administrators. I like Jay Bilas’ idea of requiring Penn State to disassociate itself with the admins involved. This involves removing Paterno’s name and likeness from the university, removing him from the record books and removing him from the hall of fame. The remaining adminstrators would be under a “show cause” ban that would require any college that hires them after they leave jail to show cause why they should be hired. Given a choice, PSU people would rather remove Paterno than remove football.
Your solution, on the other hand, allows the stain of Paterno to remain on campus and the living administrators to get jobs in college when they leave jail.
Let’s try punishing the administration, for once. I believe that would provide much more deterrence.

Whoa Nelly
Whoa Nelly
9 years ago

This whole post is sadly misguided. Because no players got free shoes, skipped classes or sold their jerseys, Penn State has not violated any NCAA rules. The NCAA is largely a joke that makes fortunes for adults off the labors of “student athletes”. Don’t expect them to help punish Penn State.

Tuntavernderelict
Tuntavernderelict
9 years ago

What is with “the NCAA” should give them the death penalty?
Is this not the Pennsylvania State University? Isn’t the current (and past) Governor on the Board of Regents? Shouldn’t the state stand up and say “Dudes this is out of control”?
When will elected officials finally stand up and say NOOOOOOO?

W4LT3R
W4LT3R
9 years ago

this is utter nonsense. the tragedies that occurred in and around the Penn State football program were criminal matters and are being dealt with by the criminal justice system. Those who are guilty will pay. Levying a further penalty on the football program will only punish those who had nothing to do with the matter.
The NCAA policies matters of its internal rules, not criminal matters. Your “solution” would be like shutting down the entire 7-11 convenience store network because a few tellers were also peddling drugs.
Here’s the difference – USC football program was an “outlaw” program within the structure of the NCAA, so the program was punished by the NCAA. Penn State was a program that was being used by criminals, so they are being punished by the relevant authorities.
My guess is that those who want Penn State football punished are actually fans of other teams who either want the competition destroyed or are hurt because they feel their team was unjustly punished in the past (e.g., USC fans). And, fwiw, I am no fan of Penn State football. I am a Syracuse alum and we consider PSU a hated rival, even (especially) because of they way have tried to bigfoot us in the past.

Gregory of Prescott
Gregory of Prescott
9 years ago

Patrick, I linked here from Instapundit and this is what is called an “instalanche”
I agree with your post. At the very least… take down the Joe Pa statue on the Penn State campus. He does not deserve that honor anymore. Next the NCAA should make it a violation of NCAA rules for coaches to rape little boys and cover it up since some commentors seem to think that’s okay.

Tblakely
Tblakely
9 years ago

While I enjoy college football, I’m fully cognizant that it has little to do with education and is primarily a money, status thing. However for those who think college sports are a perversion of what universities/colleges should be focusing on, fiscal realities are coming to the rescue. I figure in ten years or less college sports will be a shadow of it’s current self.

Brian G.
Brian G.
9 years ago

I have enjoyed myself watching all of your writers compete to see who could be the most appalled and angered by what happened at Penn State.

Owen J
Owen J
9 years ago

This post says nothing about possible criminal proceedings – is this being contemplated? If the Freeh report is correct in implicating officials at all levels of the university as being complicit in child rape, are they not accessories in some fashion? What’s being done about that?
Child rape is the most heinous crime there is. If these adminstrators are indeed guilty of knowingly violating the law, they should be prosecuted with all vigor.
Sanctions against the football program are just silly: a bunch of people condone child rape and actively cover it up and the price is that their school does not get to have a football program for while? Is that what passes for justice these days? The message this sends is that if school admistrators commit heinous crimes, someone else won’t get to play football there and, oh yeah, the school will lose some revenue that they’ll make up by passing the cost along the students and their families. Great message.
If you want to send a message, punish the criminals. What you think the corrupt people who do these sorts of things fear more: losing the right for their school to play NCAA football or sharing a cell for a decade of two with some 300-lb guy who’ll look on them as Sandusky looked on his victims?

The Olde Kat
The Olde Kat
9 years ago

Linked in from Instapundit. In my cynical take on this scandal, there was no lack of institutional control by PSU. Indeed, taking into account the actions and acts of omissions by the football coach, president, vice president and athletics director of PSU, these officials had absolute control of the situation at all times and deliberately chose to prevent any discovery or legally required reporting of the Sandusky crimes. Further, there were no attempts by any of these officials to do what was morally right and necessary in regard to the rapes and molestations from the first known problems in 1998. This may be beyond the ability of the NCAA to address in any sensible manner. Perhaps direct intervention by the Governor and State Legislature to mandate a clean-up of the PSU football program and the university administration would be a better avenue to pursue. If the Pennsylvania Governor, Legislature and PSU Board of Trustees decide to impose real consequences, up to the death penalty, then I believe that would be more effective as to PSU itself. However, the deterrent effect probably won’t be as strong as an NCAA imposed death penalty to other Division I schools. No easy solutions and waiting for the scheduled trial results will simply extend the uncertainty of when any penalties will be imposed. One final note outside of any program penalties: There should be public recognition by PSU that Coach Paterno’s legacy and reputation are forever trashed by his own hand.

Fenwick C Cooper
Fenwick C Cooper
9 years ago

And now can one forget this University was the epicenter of the “hide the decline” “”scientists”” that lied to the American people.

Lee Reynolds
Lee Reynolds
9 years ago

Instead of instituting a Death Penalty for the Football program, require them to pick players from the existing student body. No recruiting of “students” whose sole purpose is to play football. Furthermore require them to pick students from the Honors College majoring in a challenging STEM field, or something else with equivalent rigor.
No fake students who are only there to play football. No sociology majors, or students majoring in some other equally vapid and useless field.
Force them to field a team comprised of actual students who are at the university to get a real education.

JS
JS
9 years ago

There are other PSU officials facing charges – Freeh report mentions 2 others facing perjury charges for lying to Grand Jury.

mark paquette
mark paquette
9 years ago

I hadn’t realized this disgraced university also produced some global warming hucksters.
Also, to the dude who mentioned the catholic church: the church preaches against the sin of homosexuality for a reason, however while they may not have invited such deviants into the priesthood once the infiltration was discovered they should’ve rooted it out, not covered it up like paterno & co.

Baby M
Baby M
9 years ago

I’d sort of like to see the death penalty for Jerry Sandusky and his enablers on the Penn State board and in its administration, but you can’t have everything.

Bill Dalasio
Bill Dalasio
9 years ago

“Phil is pointing out to the high priests of Greed is Good the inherent flaws in giving a free pass to moneyed interests and pointing out a very visible flaw in the philosophy that equates big with evil and excludes business from the word “big”. It’s time to rethink how the problem is viewed.”
Except, were Sandusky and Paterno CEOs? Oh, global investment bankers? No? Wait, you mean to tell me they were basically college professors? Isn’t a world where they are lionized over the “high priests of Greed is Good” what those on the left have been telling us we should have for generations?

Pat
Pat
9 years ago

I am a Pennsylvanian who is sickened by the inaction of Penn State officials regarding Sandusky’s behavior. I believe that they personally, and Penn State corporately will suffer for their actions financially and legally. Two Penn State officials already face charges for lying to a grand jury regarding this matter. On the other hand, I believe that the connection to the Penn State football program is merely tangential. The football program itself has always been known as a clean program. Players have always been required to maintain good grades and behave appropriately. All the evil done by Sandusky was outside the program. I understand the need to punish Penn State severely for not reporting these heinous crimes, but that punishment must be just. You can’t punish the children for the crime of the parents.

Pat
Pat
9 years ago

I am a Pennsylvanian who is sickened by the inaction of Penn State officials regarding Sandusky’s behavior. I believe that they personally, and Penn State corporately will suffer for their actions financially and legally. Two Penn State officials already face charges for lying to a grand jury regarding this matter. On the other hand, I believe that the connection to the Penn State football program is merely tangential. The football program itself has always been known as a clean program. Players have always been required to maintain good grades and behave appropriately. All the evil done by Sandusky was outside the program. I understand the need to punish Penn State severely for not reporting these heinous crimes, but that punishment must be just. You can’t punish the children for the crime of the parents.

frank
frank
9 years ago

Congratualtions on the instalanche! You deserve better commenters.

sdb
sdb
9 years ago

Penn St does all most $800M/yr in research…almost all on federal grants. Assuming a typical overhead rate, the university takes in 400m/yr on top of this. Their operating budget is over $4b. The athletic program is worth just over $100m/yr. I point these out to give the financial status of football some context.
Athletics matters to alumni and espn, but the big money at research universities is elsewhere. It’s just vprs aren’t featured on espn and big patent licenses don’t make it in to the news.

Ellen
Ellen
9 years ago

Meh. Coaches. Administrators. What else should we expect?

Kelly
Kelly
9 years ago

I disagree with the person who compared this to a witch hunt. There has been a conviction and an investigation showing what was known by the University. Enough was known and at least suspected that action should have been taken.
If Sandusky was the greatest assistant coach ever, it stands to reason another University would of/should of snapped him up when he “retired”. Except no one wanted to touch him. Was it because word went out about his tendancies? Didn’t I read at one time that Penn State was a popular destination for wealthy phedophiles to converge on because they had a contact there?
The program should be killed for a period of time. Sports needs to be cleaned up including the lesbians that have taken over woman’s sports and who pressure young woman. I would never let my daughter play sports on the college level just as I would watch my young son very closely if he chose to play any sport.

tom beebe
tom beebe
9 years ago

I once heard, third or fourth hand, of similar activity by a coach no way beyond punishment (still alive, but incapicitated). Instapundit, it’s very close to home. I cannot remember the source, so could not even provide a reference, let alone evidence.

MichaelG
MichaelG
9 years ago

I love college sports. The enthusiasm and energy of college athletes surpasses Professional sports.
But the biggest college sports, notably football, have been for decades corrupted by the same influences we see corrupting the Olympics.
Money, Visibility, Power and Greed.
I do not know the answer to this dilema because it is the dilemma of the Ages … power and money corrupting matters in their favor. It is endemic in free Western societies and even worse in undeveloped non-Western cultures.
But I surely do want to use my Louisville slugger on the skulls of asshats who engage in this sort of behavior polluting our young people.

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