Reactions To The Penn State Penalties

July 24, 2012

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AP photo -- Sunday morning ...Penn State REMOV...

Statue of Joe Paterno removed from Beaver Stadium

No bowl games for 4 years, statues taken down, scholarships lost, massive fines imposed, wins vacated.

By now we have watched countless hours of coverage on ESPN and other news stations involving the sanctions levied by the NCAA toward Penn State. Yesterday was a veritable media blitz covering all of the sports talk radio, local and national news broadcasts, newspapers and internet message boards.

Former players, students, coaches from teams from all over the country all had microphones put in front of them to give their opinion of the penalties against the University and the football program in particular.

Everyone has an opinion on this matter.

Some have stronger opinions than others.

Whether you agree or disagree with the punishment fitting the crime, it does not change the fact that there is a lot of healing that needs to take place for many people involved, regardless if they are directly or indirectly impacted by these events and resulting consequences.

My only hope is that some of the public figures just quit talking about it altogether.

Bobby Bowden was taking numerous opportunities yesterday to talk about the subject and used his typical – good ol’ boy, golly gee whiz’ attitude. Bobby, stop with the Elmer Fudd impersonations here. A polite comment such as “this is a hard way to back into a record” and then just walk away.

I do feel for the Paterno family. Many of the things that have happened this week I am sure are viewed by them as a direct attack on their family, their pride and most importantly to them, the legacy of the good things that their beloved Joe stood for.

Unfortunately every time they make another press release – which seems like every single day – the perceived reality in their statements appears to be far out of touch with the pulse of most of the sports fans who are following the proceedings on a daily basis.

Another side bar to this entire event is what will happen to the current football players who have been given free rein by the NCAA to go elsewhere and not have to sit out and miss any time. Head coach Bill O’Brien will have his hands full trying to keep existing players and also try to make sure the kids that have already committed to the program as freshmen to be will continue to uphold that early promise and attend the university.

Many of the football players could look to other programs , and as some speculate this could essentially turn into a college free agency scenario for this year.

Since it is late in the summer and football is just around the corner, it is unlikely that many players will leave Penn State due to the timing of it all. No matter how high the talent level, it would be difficult at this juncture to leave and go to another school and still play this year for another program. It would require a lot of things happening in the lives of those young men in a short amount of time.

As we continue to discuss this entire topic over the next days and weeks, it is important to remember that a lot has happened here in a short amount of time.

More importantly…….. It has all happened because nothing was done for a long amount of time.

Until Next time…just stay classy.

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Jerry Sandusky, Dustin Verlander, Tiger Woods

November 16, 2011

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I have been focusing on Pennsylvania State issues the last couple of weeks, so I will touch briefly on that today ( we will be on this topic I am sure for many months if not longer) but will also take time to hit some other sports highlights happening around the globe.

Mike McQueary conducted an interview with CBS the other day. He indicated in that interview that he did go to police – and spoke to the official in charge of campus policy….and that he “broke up” the alleged incident in the showers involving a young boy and Sandusky.

Sandusky in a separate interview maintains his complete innocence and that he was wrong in showering with boys, hugging them, and participating in “horseplay”

The New York Times has also reported another 10 victims alleging that they had inappropriate contact with Sandusky have come forward, and that police are further investigating these recent developments.

The saga will continue.

With all apologies to Kosmo, I will talk a bit about Major League baseball.

Justin Verlander was named the unanimous American League Cy Young Winner. He won the equivalent of the leagues Triple Crown for pitching. He led the American League in wins with 24, Earned Run Average with 2.40 and Strikeouts with 251. Only two other players have accomplished this feat in the modern era and gone on to win the Cy Young Award and the MVP award. They are Denny McClain and Vida Blue . Doubt that Verlander will win the MVP as the baseball writers today would think that voting for anyone other than an offensive player for MVP would be an atrocity.

Meanwhile down under in Australia, the President Cup Matches pitting USA golfers against members of the “world” (players not from countries that can play in Ryder Cup Matches for the European team) are getting ready to get after it.

One of the biggest controversies was Captain Fred Couples selection of Tiger Woods. Woods since all of his off the golf course issues, has been colder than a TV Dinner in isle eight at your local grocery store.

Woods showed a glimmer of light on the radar screen with a third place finish last week. To add some spark to the matches, he will be playing last in the Thursday Foursomes matches he will be paired with Steve Stricker and they will take on K.J. Choi, and (gulp) Adam Scott.

Scott has employed former Woods Caddy Steve Williams. There has been numerous words of attrition in the news, twitter, the golf channel and any other avenue possible between Tiger and Steve Williams. This will likely not turn into anything, but it adds some punch to the news story that the President Cup Matches need in order to be considered significant.

Good Luck USA in the Presidents CUP!

Until next time, stay classy, Ann Arbor Michigan.

Questions in the Penn State Scandal

November 10, 2011

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This is our third article on the topic of Jerry Sandusky’s arrest and the subsequent impact on Penn State.  That’s a lot of virtual ink for our little publication to give to one story.  However, nearly every writer on the staff is a pretty big sports fan, and this is one of the biggest sports-related stories in recent years – it warrants considerable coverage.  You might even see 1-2 more stories today, as I sent a couple of emails late last night soliciting articles responding to the breaking events.

Last night, heads began to roll, as Joe Paterno was fired after 46 years as head coach at Penn State and university president Graham Spanier was also fired.  I doubt these will be the only people fired. 

Here are some questions about the scandal.  These are presented as they pop into my head, and are not intended to be in order of importance.

What are the rioters thinking?

I understand the mindset of sports fans.  I’m a huge sports fan myself.  I spend much more time thinking about how to abolish the designated hitter than I do comparing the tax plans of Ron Paul and Herman Cain.

However, when the same news story involves kids getting raped and a coach getting fired, the coach is not the victim.  Focus on the kids.

What did Graham Spanier know?

Spanier insists that he knows nothing.  But if he really knew nothing, would he have been fired?  If he was fired without just cause, he’d have a great case for a wrongful termination lawsuit.  I can’t imaging that the trustees would be dumb enough to walk into a lawsuit.  (However, I’ve been wrong about that sort of thing before – sometimes state officials really ARE that dumb).

Interestingly, Spanier is president of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).  If he is removed from this role, will this cause any changes to the BCS?

What did McQueary Tell Paterno?

There’s a discrepancy here.  McQueary says that he told Paterno the details of the shower encounter between Jerry Sandusky and the young boy.  When Paterno spoke with Athletic Director Tim Curley, he says that McQueary told him that Sandusky was fondling the boy or doing something of a sexual nature.

Was Paterno downplaying Sandusky’s activities?  Is McQueary lying?  Is Paterno lying?  Was there a misunderstanding?

However, the point becomes a bit moot when you consider that McQueary then met with Curley and VP Schultz (in charge of the campus police).  Regardless of what Paterno told Curley, McQueary had the opportunity to give his full story to Curley during that meeting.

Why didn’t McQueary stop the assault?

That’s a great question.  The only thing I can say in his defense is that perhaps he was in shock and temporarily lost the ability to make good decisions.

Why didn’t anyone go to the cops?

Another great question.  I heard Mike and Mike on ESPN raise a good point on this issue.  VP Schultz was in charge of the campus police.  Perhaps McQueary and Paterno saw his involvement as police involvement.

It would have been better, of course, to go to the police.

Why did Sandusky have access to university facilities?

Finally, an easy question.  He negotiated a status of coach emeritus, which gave him access to the facilities.

Why did Sandusky retire?

Sandusky stepped down in 1999 shortly after Paterno told him he would not become head coach at Penn State.  The official reason for Paterno’s proclamation was that Sandusky was spending too much time with his charity, and would thus would not be able to devote sufficient time to a head coaching role.

Is is possible that Paterno’s real reason was that he knew what Sandusky was doing and didn’t want to put a pedophile in the head coaching role.  (Isn’t it also interesting that the sitting head coach is making decisions on the future coach instead of the Athletic Director?)

Is it possible that Sandusky’s frustration at losing his shot at the head coaching job served as a trigger to his criminal activities?

Did Sandusky create The Second Mile charity just to troll for victims?

That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?

Where’s the grand jury report?

Jerry Sandusky Arrested For Sexual Abuse

November 5, 2011

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A year after Ohio State’s tattoos-for-trophies scandal, another Big 10 school finds itself in trouble.  This time it is Penn State.  On a day in which they didn’t play a game, they still made the news – in the worst way possible.

Former Nittany Lion defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky – once thought to be the successor to legendary coach Joe Paterno – was arrested Saturday on 40 criminal charges related to alleged sexual abuse of eight boys between 1994 and 2007.  Sandusky met the boys through a non-profit organization called The Second Mile, an organization with this stated mission: “The Second Mile challenges young people to achieve their potential as individuals and community members by providing opportunities for them to develop positive life skills and self-esteem as well as by providing education and support for parents and professionals addressing the needs of youth.

In addition, two officials with Penn State – including athletic director Tim Curley – also face charges for failing to report allegations to proper authorities.  After a graduate assistant witness one sexual assault, he contacted Joe Paterno, who reported the incident to Curley.  Curley and VP for finance and business Gary Shultz were charged with failure to report and perjury after a grand jury deemed that they had lied while in front of the grand jury.

While Paterno is not accused of any wrongdoing, I do feel that he and the graduate assistant could have taken things a step further by reporting the allegations to the police, as well as to university officials.  This wasn’t an issue of an NCAA violation, but allegations of a serious crime.  For the moment, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they reflexively reported it up the chain, just as they report anything else.

This is a good time to reflect that any of US, if we found ourselves in a similar situation, should also report the allegations to the police.  Don’t simply report it to a superior and assume that it was taken care of.  In this case, Sandusky was finally arrested nine years after the graduate assistant first notified Paterno – and the assaults continued for five years after the 2002 incident.

If the allegations against Sandusky are true, then he deserves to spend a long time in jail.

If Athletic Director Curley is guilty of lying to a grand jury, then the best course of action for Penn State would be to fire him.  You don’t want to have people with such poor judgment in positions of power at your university.