Posts Tagged ‘Penn State’

Sanctioning the Wrong Squad: Penn State Football’s Unfair Punishment

July 27, 2012

We all know by now what happened at Penn State University.

A former assistant on the football team molested many young boys over a long period of time. Guilty.

Legendary head coach Joe Paterno, other coaches on his staff, and certain members of the school’s faculty and athletic department failed to alert authorities to questionable activity over all those years for a multitude of immoral reasons. Guilty.

And the football players on the team, then AND now obviously played a role in the incidents by knowing and playing for the coaches in question, and using the same locker room showers as the victims. Wait. Guilty?

HOW?

This was the big news this past Monday morning. Taken directly from ESPN.com:

The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning. The career record of Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records, the NCAA said.

Penn State also must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period.

I remember reading that text message alert and at first, thinking hmm, that seems fair. And then I got past the word “sanction” and began to have my doubts.

Cutting scholarships in half? A four-year postseason ban? “Vacating” wins, as if they never happened?

Absolutely, utterly, incredibly ridiculous decisions by the NCAA. 

Let me clarify, first of all. I get it. The NCAA needed to make a statement and they definitely did. They needed to crack down HARD on Penn State, and they did. They needed to hold someone accountable and dole out big punishment. And they did.

Only…they did it to the wrong people.

The people who needed to be punished have either been imprisoned or fired and completely humiliated in the court of public opinion. The punishments for anyone who won’t end up behind bars are that their names will forever be associated with this fiasco and they likely will never be hired or respected in any profession anywhere, ever again.

So why the extra sanctions that affect the entire Penn State football program, even though the remaining aspects of that program had absolutely nothing to do with the Sandusky situation, aside from wearing the same team colors as the disgraced ex-coordinator?

USC (one of the schools Penn State’s star running back, Silas Redd, has been rumored to be in contact about transferring, ironically enough) received punishment because the football program and one of its star players were irresponsible and broke rules. Okay, fair. That is football business.

This? Not so much. Just because it involved a member of the football team’s coaching staff and his disgusting off-the-field exploits, some of which happened in the facilities of Beaver Stadium, does not mean that it was football business.

Joe Paterno passed away. Sandusky is going to prison. The others associated with this mess are shamed and unemployed. So how is a four-year postseason ban on these college kids who are trying to win football games and continue their quests to the NFL, going to help anything?

How will cutting scholarships in half benefit the NCAA, besides allowing them to sit smugly behind a desk and say “Ha! Look what we did!” while flexing their muscles in the mirror? In fact, that will save Penn State money in the end. Oops.

And vacating wins? Hard-fought victories by the (former) all-time college football wins leader, Paterno and his players over the years? In which way does that have anything at all to do with Jerry Sandusky molesting young boys?

Sandusky’s actions did not give Penn State football in that time span any type of competitive advantage or break any football rules that would deem such action necessary.

So *poof* goes over 100 wins out of the record books. As if people will look back on that time period in Penn State football history and shake their heads: “Damn shame. If Sandusky hadn’t performed extra curricular activities off the field, away from the football field all those years, State would have 100 more wins.”

Please.

My interpretation of the penalties handed down by the NCAA is as close to the “death penalty” that SMU received in the 80’s as can be. How’s SMU doing, you might ask? Just recovering now…25 years later.

Penn State has the chops to survive these sanctions much better than SMU did, because they are a bigger, better program. But the fact that they are even that close to pure football apocalypse is pretty frustrating. SMU was paying its players through booster slush funds, resulting in the cancellation of the team’s entire 1987 season.

How is punishing players who played under a perverted, corrupt, immoral coaching staff, yet completely clean themselves, at all fair?

An umbrella organization like the NCAA in a regular business setting would never take this path. If a major corporation found that some of its top board members were involved in sex crimes and cover-ups, would they essentially fire every employee in the company? Never.

Look. Again, I understand the penalty needed to be harsh. In fact, I would argue that everyone involved in the scandal should be imprisoned at least temporarily. But the group of people taking the hardest hit in this punishment situation (aside from Sandusky himself) are the innocent players. Many of whom were not even in middle school when the crimes took place.

Now all the hard work they put together over their lives to play a sport they love and earn a scholarship to a high-profile Division I program is pointless. The scholarships they  earned are suddenly sullied. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t sensible.

Bill O’Brien, the new coach at Penn State, and one of his star linebackers know it too. And they aren’t keeping their mouths shut:

Mauti said Penn State players are being badgered because there are few rules on how opposing coaches can contact them. He said at least 40 schools have tried to contact him even though he’s maintained that he intends to stay at PSU.

“There’s been coaches hounding our players (with) 10-12 calls per day,” Mauti said. “(They are) on our campus, outside our classrooms. Even some coaches from this conference.

“At this point in time, the fact that there’s no rules — the door has been opened,” he added. “You don’t have to have ethics in this game. That’s the game they created.”

Asked how Emmert could say so much about integrity while handing down the punishments and then create this sort of situation, Mauti at first replied: “I think it’s kind of ironic.”

He was asked to elaborate.

“For them to say that is helping (the players), for them to say they’re doing us a favor to (be able to transfer) with no rules — I’m going to choose my word carefully here — it’s a joke,” Mauti said. “An absolute joke.”

These are sections of a story printed here, about senior linebacker Michael Mauti’s comments regarding the sanctions. Read on:

He also took exception to Emmert’s comments that Penn State football had not placed the proper emphasis on academics.

“Who said that?” Mauti said. “Penn State graduates eight of 10 players. No other school does that. To say my degree means less because of (the Sandusky scandal), no way.

“Hey, I was watching Barney when that happened,” he added, referring to the alleged 2001 cover up of Sandusky’s actions by school officials. “Our freshmen were like 6 years old.”

Here, you have a senior leader of this team who has dedicated the last four years to playing football for Penn State, ultimately to achieve a larger dream of being in the NFL. Here, you have a player who is dedicated, honorable, well-spoken and intelligent. Here, you have a player being punished for something he had no hand in. Something that occurred when he was ten years old. 

Take off the blinders, world. Crucify the people who actually played a role in the crimes. Don’t lump “Penn State” and “Penn State football” into one category with Sandusky. Yes, he wore the colors, but anyone in Happy Valley will tell you…

…Sandusky is NOT Penn State. The players are. Let them play, and give Penn State a shot at revitalizing its image. The only mistake the entire entity of the University made was hiring someone with strange sexual cravings.

There’s a hell of a lot more to this school and this football team. But with the sanctions against them, it could be years before people realize that again.

Best of luck to the Penn State football team. They will need it.

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Lookin’ Like a Bunch of Bums Out Here!

January 23, 2012

This isn’t how I expected to start Jam Shots off. I regret to inform you that the only news I have today is sad news. First of all, let me explain something. This is not ESPN or Sports Illustrated. I will not claim to be an objective journalist with no ties to any teams, while really just trying and terribly failing at masking my love for all New York teams and Tom Brady’s junk.

I am a 49er fan. I love the Dodgers and A’s. And my alma mater, the Washington State Cougars. Therefore, I hate the San Francisco Giants. And the Washington Huskies. It comes with the territory of being a die hard fan. That being said, I guarantee you my blog will be less idiotic and infuriating than anything Skip Bayless has ever said. And since we’re on the subject, I hate that guy too.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, we can get back to the bummer of the century. The NFC Championship game last night. The 49ers lost a sloppy game to the New York FOOTBALL (you know, in case you forgot that the New York BASEBALL Giants moved out over 50 years ago…) Giants in overtime. It was such an ugly game that it was kind of like watching your grandparents knocking boots on the kitchen table, but those blue and white bastards got the best of my Niners. An average person might think it’s just raining in the Bay Area today. False. It is the collective cascading of thousands and thousands of people’s tears. The city is flooding.

Normally, I’d go out on a tangent, blindly blaming players and coaches and Indian gods, but today I’m going to take the high road. Well, after I make you sympathize with me.

Let me tell you, I’ve now experienced a broken heart. Sorry ’bout it ex-girlfriends, deceased former pets (R.I.P. Josh, Maggie and P.J.), and the latest Indiana Jones movie. Nothing will compare to how badly that loss hurt last night. This might seem weird, but instead of putting in Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! and downing a tub of ice cream like usual, I microwaved 16 turkey meatballs and stuffed my face with them. I…I don’t know. I was hungry. Uhh, anyways…

I learned all about “DABDA” in high school psychology. And yesterday I flew through Denial (I mean, the scoreboard rarely lies), was too sad for Anger, too tired to Bargain and spent the rest of the night in Depression. Or a meaty, steamy, ball-induced coma. Either way, it was a low point. I didn’t even have the energy to send a death threat to Kyle Williams like half of the Twitter world was doing (Shameless self-promotion time! Yay! Follow me on Twitter @jamblinman).

And that ends the feel-bad-for-the-author segment of our program. Because after a good night’s sleep and a couple dead-fish anger jumps on to the couch this morning, I’ve finally reached the last “A” – Acceptance. The 49ers lost. And I’m okay with it. Forget that this Super Bowl game will undoubtedly out-lame the National Championship rematch. The truth is, none of us fans expected to be here. Going from 6-10 one season to 14-4 the next and being one kick, slip or tackle away from the Super Bowl is nothing short of a miracle.

So props to Jim Harbaugh and his staff. Props to Alex Smith and his resurgence. And props to the most incredible defense the NFL has seen in a decade. And cheers to the fact that they will be back next year. With a full offseason. Completely healthy. And most likely with a couple new wide receivers. Tom Coughlin, I hope you’re reading this; you might need to change your diaper now.

And one last thing – Kyle Williams basically cost us ten points. You’re right. Get off his back. Where were the 3rd-down conversions? Where were the defensive takeaways? Where was the ballsy play calling? Where was the coverage on the 3rd-and-15-turned-into-17-yard-touchdown? Williams is a good receiver, a ridiculous athlete, and he’ll be back catching passes in the slot for us next season. He’s the goat today, but he deserves his fans’ support, not their threats.

Whew. Okay. On to the next bit of news! Oh. Great. It’s still sad. JoePa, a college football icon, passed away early Sunday after his health started failing the day before. All I have to say about him is this: It’s unfortunate that his unbelievable legacy will be tarnished by the recent Jerry Sandusky scandal. It’s understandable, but unfortunate. Hopefully he will be remembered for helping to pioneer the sport of football rather than being a silent accomplice to the biggest creep in the history of the world. They are Penn State. R.I.P. Joe Paterno.

Lastly, today, I have a little bit of basketball news for you. I want to ask – how tall were you in high school? Even after a growth spurt, most people here didn’t break six feet. I, for one, still have my original driver’s license from when I turned 16. It lists me as 5’10” and 170 pounds. Here I sit, seven years later, at 5’10”, 170 pounds. I know. Embarrassing. Besides, I look like I was just booked into a mental institute. Three hours in line at the DMV will do that to a kid.

Anyways, back to the news. Imagine being not six feet tall in high school. Not seven feet tall. But seven and a half feet tall, dominating fools on the basketball court. That’s the life of Senegalese teenager Mamadou Ndiaye (good luck), who plays high school hoops in Southern California. Watch the tape. The dude literally takes four strides from one basket to the other, and towers over the opposing center (who looks to be no taller than Danny DeVito to begin with). If he went to the NBA today, he’d be the tallest player on any roster. That’s just ridiculous. All I’m going to say is if this kid doesn’t average 40 and 40 every game, something’s wrong.

Thanks for reading the first installment of Jam Shots. Hopefully tomorrow will be a brighter day and you don’t have to deal with my whiny, butt cramps about my team losing. Until then, enjoy the Monday Nic Cage Clip of the Week (because just like his acting, Mondays suck ass). Peace.


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