I’m not exactly sure how NCAA sanctions against Penn State can be termed “unprecedented” when they reportedly will not include the “death penalty.” Supposedly they will be worse than the death penalty. I’m not so sure about that. When is the last time you heard anything about football at SMU? Not since the 1980’s before the NCAA hit them with the “death penalty” for repeated pay-for-play scandals.
NCAA President Mark Emmert will make the announcement of major sanctions against Penn State Monday morning at 9 a.m. The NCAA will reportedly fine Penn State upwards of $60 million dollars. If they’re really going for “unprecedented,” perhaps they can designate the money for the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s multi-decade sexual abuse.
In related news, Penn State removed the statue of Joe Paterno from in front of Beaver Stadium Sunday morning. Here’s a portion of how Penn State President Rodney Erickson explained the move:
With the release of Judge Freeh’s Report of the Special Investigative Counsel, we as a community have had to confront a failure of leadership at many levels. The statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium has become a lightning rod of controversy and national debate, including the role of big time sports in university life. The Freeh Report has given us a great deal to reflect upon and to consider, including Coach Paterno’s legacy.
Throughout Penn State, the two most visible memorials to Coach Paterno are the statue at Beaver Stadium and the Paterno Library. The future of these two landmarks has been the topic of heated debate and many messages have been received in various University offices, including my own. We have heard from numerous segments of the Penn State community and others, many of whom have differing opinions. These are particularly important decisions when considering things that memorialize such a revered figure.
I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our University and beyond. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse.
On the other hand, the Paterno Library symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University. The library remains a tribute to Joe and Sue Paterno’s commitment to Penn State’s student body and academic success, and it highlights the positive impacts Coach Paterno had on the University. Thus I feel strongly that the library’s name should remain unchanged.
Coach Paterno’s positive impact over the years and everything he did for this University predate his statue. At the same time it is true that our institution’s excellence cannot be attributed to any one person or to athletics. Rather, Penn State is defined by our actions and accomplishments as a learning community. Penn State has long been an outstanding academic institution and we will continue to be. The world will be watching how Penn State addresses its challenges in the days ahead. While some may take issue with the decisions I have made, I trust that everyone associated with our University will respond in a civil and respectful manner.
As the sole response to the Freeh report (aside from announcing plans to renovate the locker rooms where some of the abuse took place), removing the statue of Paterno is a symbolic act that amounts to nothing. Forcing the resignation of the entire Board of Governors, replacing the President, and suspending the football program would be a much better start.
Bring in all new people from the top down – don’t whitewash (literally and figuratively) the deep seeded problems in the athletics program.