Self Expression Magazine

Crime & Punishment

Posted on the 24 July 2012 by Lynnbraz @wandering_lotus

Crime & Punishment"Penn State's Second Chance: The NCAA's punishment is for the best. The school can prove it is a university, not a football program," read the headline of an article posted on hours after the NCAA's sanctions were announced. ESPN's Ivan Maisel wrote that he half expected NCAA president Mark Emmert to march into Monday's press conference swathed in a military uniform, demanding to be addressed as "Generalissimo." Opinions on the punishments handed down run the gamut. But the one that sounds most sane to me is that of longtime sportscaster Brent Musburger who was interviewed on ESPN'S Mike & Mike in the Morning today.
Bottom line, according to Musburger: preventing Penn State from competing in Bowl games for four years punishes the innocent. So does stripping the school of a significant number of its football scholarships. Pennsylvania kids who might not otherwise get a chance to go to college are taking the hit here. Fining the university $60 million dollars and then donating it to a charity, rather than giving it directly to Sandusky's victims is misguided. Crippling Penn State financially hurts the students and faculty—the entire region which depends on the university economically. These sanctions do not make amends for the heinous crimes committed on campus by a member of the football coaching staff.
I know Penn State had to be disciplined by the NCAA. I believe, as the Freeh report states, that Joe Paterno, Tim Curley (Penn State's athletic director during the period of Sandusky's serial raping of children) and Gary Schultz (former head of campus police) were informed of Sandusky's criminal depravity, harbored him from consequences and allowed him free run of the campus, effectively insuring his crimes would continue. Curley and Schultz are being prosecuted criminally. Paterno evaded prosecution by passing away before the investigation was completed. His legacy—including owning one of the highest graduation rates for a college football program—is decimated. Beyond Pennsylvania, Paterno will mostly be remembered as the man who valued winning over the welfare of children.
Interestingly, former Penn State president Graham Spanier disclosed yesterday that he too was abused as a child and that he would never cover up such crimes. Spanier has not been indicted, but his disclosure, made in a letter to Penn State Trustees, could be laying the groundwork for his defense if he is. The University's counsel at the time, Cynthia Baldwin, has not yet been indicted, but the Freeh report severely criticizes her handling of the situation. Spanier claims to have been guided by Baldwin, receiving little information from her on Sandusky and the grand jury investigation.
My biggest question right now: shouldn't the entire Board of Trustees be asked to resign? I know the one guy who definitively knew about Sandusky resigned last week. But it sounds to me that the lack of institutional control vis-a-vis Paterno's powerful football program started at the top. The fish stinks from the head down.
When I think of Paterno now, my mind keeps circling over to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act III, scene ii, Marc Antony: "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones."
NCAA president Mark Emmert is allowing Penn State football players to transfer to other schools. The only problem with that is training camp is six weeks away. Most schools have already committed their scholarship money for this year. Of course, someone will find a spot for Penn State's top players, which hurts the rest of the Penn State team. Any way you look at it, it's kids, again, getting screwed.

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