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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NCAA & Penn State

The sexual child abuse for which Jerry Sandusky was recently convicted is a terrible black mark on the administration of Penn State. Sexual child abuse is an awful crime and a tragedy. There can be no excuses whatsoever for those who are guilty of such a crime or of those who had knowledge of it and made no attempt to intervene and report it to the police, none.

My problem is with the actions of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). Why, will someone please tell me, are those who are innocent of this crime—the players, the students, the faculty, the alumni, the supporters, and vendors such as hotels and restaurants—being punished for Sandusky’s despicable crime? In this politically correct society, do we now blame society and institutions for the crimes of individuals? That is a miscarriage of justice.

When Enron collapsed due to corporate mismanagement and dishonesty, US Attorney General John Ashcroft charged Enron’s accounting firm, Arthur Andersen with criminal activities. Excuse me, General Ashcroft, but corporations and partnerships and Universities and organizations don’t commit crimes, people commit crimes! The Penn State University didn’t commit child abuse. Jerry Sandusky, now behind bars, committed child abuse. And, it may turn out that others such as the now former President of Penn State, Graham Spanier, other administrators, Joe Paterno, and assistant coaches were guilty of a cover-up. We can’t say that yet because none of these individuals have yet been charged with complicity in the awful crime of Sandusky. If they are charged and convicted in a court of law, then they will pay the price for their betrayal of young boys molested by Sandusky. Paterno is no longer with us, but he has to answer to the Judge of the universe.

Writing in the July 25 edition of the Wall Street Journal, William McGurn made the following observations and comments regarding the NCAA…

“The chairman of the organization’s executive committee, Ed Ray, explained the NCAA’s sanctions on Penn State by invoking ‘the children.’ Minutes later NCAA President Mark Emmert took it to the next level of political correctness by declaring that the aim was ‘a change of culture.’ Indeed, Mr. Emmert invoked the word ‘culture’ six times as he explained punishments that will largely be inflicted on the innocent for the failures of the guilty.”

“That’s what we do these days. When someone does something truly evil—whether it be a gunman firing on innocents in a Colorado theater, or an assistant college football coach molesting young boys—we indict the larger culture. We see this in the wake of Colorado, where last week’s shooting spree has fueled calls to take away guns from the law abiding. We see it too in reaction to the terrible happenings at Penn State, where Joe Paterno’s name seems to arouse more fury than that of the man who actually molested the boys, Jerry Sandusky.”

Indeed, what crime did the football players commit who have already shown far more integrity and good sense than the holier-than-thou officials of the NCAA? What about the former players who have had their victories nullified by the bureaucrats of the NCAA? What about the students who have been penalized for attending Penn State? Are they too guilty of creating a “culture” that caused young boys to be molested? It is oh so easy to blame the “culture” for our problems, but it is also irresponsible, and just plain wrong. The “culture” of Penn State didn’t molest those boys, Jerry Sandusky did.

The more than 200 restaurants and hotels and motels that will lose income due to the reckless actions of the NCAA are also innocent of the crimes of Sandusky. What about the $60 million fine of Penn State? Who will pay that? With less enrollment anticipated, less football revenue expected, it will come back to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania and the parents of the students who may pay higher costs for their children to attend Penn State. What sense does the fine make? Are those who will suffer from this outrageous fine guilty for the action of Sandusky or those who failed to take action?

What about the women’s sports and the other sports financially dependent on the revenues of football for their support and existence? Why should these sports be punished for the crime of Jerry Sandusky and anyone who covered up his crime?

It’s time for the NCAA member colleges and universities to push back. They need to tell the NCAA to either shape up, or they should pull out en masse. For many years the NCAA has been driven by political correctness. Out-of-proportion fines and penalties have been levied by arrogant NCAA bureaucrats for insignificant infractions by member schools. In the past everyone has just grumbled and moved on, but perhaps this time the participating schools will wake up and take action. The out-of-control nabobs of the NCAA need to be put on notice. Instead of political correctness, common sense is called for. Penn State as an institution is not guilty. Jerry Sandusky and anyone who abetted him or covered up his awful crime should be punished, not innocent bystanders who are easy whipping boys for the NCAA. Instead of punishing those who are not guilty, civil legal action can take place if personal contracts have been violated. If there are no personal contracts with coaches, then they can be implemented for the future. Waging war on Penn State as an institution may make the NCAA folks feel better about themselves, but it will not solve the problem. Holding those who commit a crime solely responsible is the only way to send the right message. It is also the fair and the right thing to do.

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