The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Penn State, the Death Penalty, and Such

The long-awaited Freeh report is out in public.  This allows everyone to start debating Penn State.  Some have even thrown around the idea of the death penalty for Penn State.  There are too many writers suggesting that to bother citing to any one of them.  The Confidential does not want to minimize what happened at Penn State, but fails to see how the death penalty serves anyone’s interests.

Nobody wins if Penn State football is killed.  Penn State and its fans obviously lose.  The Big 10 loses.  Anyone who enjoys playing and defeating (whether often or not) Penn State loses.  The NCAA loses–demonstrating that it cannot prevent wrongful conduct, only punish it long after it occurs.  Seriously, who wins?

Most importantly, there are victims of these crimes.  These victims have friends and relatives.  These victims want justice, surely, but do not want to be responsible for the death of the Penn State football program that entertains so many people they know and care about, and is so integral to local life.  The victims have suffered enough.

A better justice for these victims would be a cleaned-up Penn State program that takes the lead on preventing this from happening again anywhere.  Actually, there is a rather obvious institutional problem as it relates to sexual abuse, especially child sexual abuse.  People do not want to believe that colleagues, particularly respected colleagues, can be abusive.  This is not limited to football programs, but happens in churches, businesses, and government.  However, there are some very smart people who get paid to research at Penn State.  Perhaps Penn State could devote some significant resources from its Big Ten television revenue to putting its smartest sociologist, psychologist and business minds together on how to create an institutional system that allows for a rational, proper response to accusations of sexual abuse.  Not laws or regulations that defer responsibility to the government, but a system that allows entities to self-police long before it reaches the stage of punishment.  This would not be as financially lucrative as sucking on the teat of Monsanto, but this would be Penn State’s greatest gift to the victims–preventing future victims in more places than merely Penn State.

If the NCAA wants to kill Penn State football, it can.  Then we can start talking about what happens next in the conference scheme.  Frankly, the Confidential thinks that those discussions are designed more to inflame passions and entice viewership than any real possibility of the NCAA implementing the death penalty.  The problem is that arguments can detract from solutions.  Until Penn State folks stop worrying about legacies, can anything good be accomplished.  Non-Penn State folks need to stop provoking the Penn State folks.  And so on.

The Confidential has never much cared for Penn State.  They belonged in the Big East.  They would fit nicely in the ACC today.  But that does not mean that it supports the death of its football program.  And without an explanation as to how it benefits all, or even anyone, the Confidential cannot support it.  Punishment can be cathartic, but it can also be pointless.

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12 thoughts on “Penn State, the Death Penalty, and Such

  1. With the knowledge that JoPa knew in 98 &o1 and did nothing, it is not beyond the realm of reason to think he knew even beofre then. After all, people dont wake up at 55 and suddenly realize that they are a serial pedophile. Sundusky was certainly doing it before 98. The million dollar question is did JoPa know.

  2. Vinnie Saltine on said:

    If you look back at the times the NCAA has enforced severe punishments on teams (SMU, USC) there is a history of repeated offenses. USC was cited for “lack of institutional control” because multiple star players received cash/improper benefits.

    SMU was under probation for years and continued violating NCAA regulations.

    Had PSU’s Coaches and Administrators not covered-up Sandusky’s actions, then the NCAA would have been alerted to this behavior years ago and probably would have issued less punishment and hopefully would have prevented this from occuring again…although it would have tarnished PSU’s reputation. How many Hundreds of Millions of dollars did PSU make during that time? How many recruits chose PSU instead of other schools because of that reputation.

    Instead, the cover-up kept everyone in the dark and, in all likelihood, this behavior continued. The fact that Coaches, Admins, and BOTs knew about this, but instead chose to keep their reputation and Football prestige above all else, while committing perjury in the process, is one of the most blatant examples of Lacking Institutional Control that I’ve ever seen.

    For that reason, I think that at the very least PSU needs a minimum of a 5-year post season ban and loss of several scholarships annually during that period. That wouldn’t destroy their program, it wouldn’t deter students from choosing PSU, it probably won’t impact the B1G, and it wouldnt’ elminate all alumni and donors from contributing, but it would certainly set them back enough where they will have the ability to rebuild and regain their squeaky-clean image.

    • Penn State’s squeaky-clean image is long gone.

      I am pretty sure that the NCAA will determine that lack of institutional control refers to control over NCAA regulations, rather than control over legal issues. USC could not prevent its football program from violating NCAA rules, not laws. SMU could not prevent its football program from violating NCAA rules, not laws. The reason for the punishments were that SMU and USC gave themselves a competitive advantage.

      Arguably, Penn State gave itself a competitive advantage by not disclosing that it had a serial pedofile using its facilities. However, by the same token, Arkansas gave itself a competitive advantage by not disclosing that it had an adulterous head coach and Syracuse gave itself a competitive advantage by not disclosing that there were accusations of improper conduct by Bernie Fine.

      Florida had 20 players arrested under Urban Meyer. No lack of institutional control there. It’s a criminal issue, rather than the horror of a player receiving free sneakers or $100.

      If anything, this issue should remind everyone just how absurd the NCAA Is. The desire to pretend that there is something called amateurism.

      • Vinnie Saltine on said:

        “Florida had 20 players arrested under Urban Meyer. No lack of institutional control there. It’s a criminal issue, rather than the horror of a player receiving free sneakers or $100.”

        As far as I know, at no point did Florida try to hide/conceal those facts from the NCAA. Players were arrested, reprimanded, suspended, etc…Florida accepted the consequences, and appealed when they could or when it was necessary, but they didn’t go through an elaborate process to prevent authorities, including the NCAA, from finding out for fear that it would damage their reputation or take away their competitive advantage on the field.

        • That’s not the same as lying to the NCAA investigators. Again, Syracuse did not tell the world about the Bernie Fine investigation. How is that not similar? If the NCAA comes down on PSU, they have to come down on Syracuse. And the fact that the allegations in Syracuse are untrue is irrelevant–Syracuse still prevented the NCAA and authorities from doing their own investigation.

  3. Vinnie Saltine on said:

    “That’s not the same as lying to the NCAA investigators.”

    You’re right, this is WORSE than lying to the NCAA Investigators. Frankly, if Penn State is willing to lie about this, what else are they willing to lie about?

    If I’m the NCAA, I have no choice but to put PSU on a multi-year probation only for the fact that they have zero credibility right now. Every compliance report they submit needs to be scrutinized, every recruiting visit monitored, etc..

  4. dacuseman on said:

    @ acaffrey: “….How is that not similar? If the NCAA comes down on PSU, they have to come down on Syracuse. And the fact that the allegations in Syracuse are untrue is irrelevant….”

    Within your question lies your answer. IT’S NOT TRUE. That’s the whole difference, along with the fact that Cuse didn not knowingly cover for a serial child preditor. Do you have anymore dumb questions you’d like to ask?

    • What does truth matter? If the truth means that there was actual abuse, then the NCAA would be punishing criminal conduct that did not make the Nittany Lions one iota better. Moreover, nobody says that the truth of the Bernie Fine situation is closed. Finally, while Syracuse did more than Penn State in involving an outside law firm, there are legitimate questions regarding the scope of that law firm’s investigation. Having performed such an investigation myself, I find it pretty odd that it was incomplete.

      • I can see you’re not very smart or very biased. either way, let’s take this line by line:

        “What does truth matter? If the truth means that there was actual abuse, then the NCAA would be punishing criminal conduct that did not make the Nittany Lions one iota better.” Well buying an athlete a suit doesn’t either but you see plenty of schools get punished for it. It’s a lack of institutional control. Duh.

        “Moreover, nobody says that the truth of the Bernie Fine situation is closed.” Let’s see here, we got a double talking extoryionist making claims and 3 proven liars backing him up. Yeah, good luck with that. Matter closed.

        “Finally, while Syracuse did more than Penn State in involving an outside law firm, there are legitimate questions regarding the scope of that law firm’s investigation.” Well, again, you answered your own dumb question. SYRACUSE DID MORE. Besides, none of the alleged misconduct took place on SU property. (another difference) What happens at Bernie’s house is Bernie’s business. Even the 2nd investigation by a 2nd law firm found NO WRONG DOING by SU so, yet another swing and miss for you.

        “Having performed such an investigation myself, I find it pretty odd that it was incomplete.” Like hell you have! The internet is like your imagination. You can be anything you want to be.

        • “What does truth matter? If the truth means that there was actual abuse, then the NCAA would be punishing criminal conduct that did not make the Nittany Lions one iota better.” Well buying an athlete a suit doesn’t either but you see plenty of schools get punished for it. It’s a lack of institutional control. Duh.

          WRONG. Schools are punished for compensating players. A person can be compensated in cash or in goods. If a player does not have to buy themselves a suit, that’s money saved. And when players are compensated, that is a competitive advantage for that school. Whether the player is compensated in cash, cars, houses, clothes, drugs, or sneakers… the NCAA gets involved.

          They do not get involved when Nebraska players abuse women or when Florida players get DUIs. They do not get involved when Arkansas head coaches commit adultery. They do not get involved when there is a work place accident involving a death, such as at Notre Dame. Those are not competitive advantage situations.

          “Moreover, nobody says that the truth of the Bernie Fine situation is closed.” Let’s see here, we got a double talking extoryionist making claims and 3 proven liars backing him up. Yeah, good luck with that. Matter closed.

          YOU ARE PARTIALLY CORRECT. Two people know the truth–Davis and Fine. So my statement about nobody is not true. However, other than Davis and Fine, nobody really knows the truth. While there are reasons why Davis might lack credibility, a jury could still find that he is telling the truth–regardless of whether he tried to extort or other folks lied. This is basic law.

        • “Finally, while Syracuse did more than Penn State in involving an outside law firm, there are legitimate questions regarding the scope of that law firm’s investigation.” Well, again, you answered your own dumb question. SYRACUSE DID MORE. Besides, none of the alleged misconduct took place on SU property. (another difference) What happens at Bernie’s house is Bernie’s business. Even the 2nd investigation by a 2nd law firm found NO WRONG DOING by SU so, yet another swing and miss for you.

          WRONG. The law firm was retained to find out what happened. If the allegations regarding Fine are true, the University cannot allow him on campus. In that situation, the University has notice that he is a pedophile. So–if they are going to bother to retain a law firm to investigate–it behooves them to ensure that the law firm finds out the truth. Moreover, a law firm gets billed based on the time it invests. Had they continued to meet with all the potential “witnesses,” they could have billed more and made more money. So it is odd that the law firm did not look under every rock. While it might have been a good faith decision, it makes the University and law firm both look bad–perhaps unnecessarily.

          “Having performed such an investigation myself, I find it pretty odd that it was incomplete.” Like hell you have! The internet is like your imagination. You can be anything you want to be.

          WRONG. I guess being a lawyer for 13 years is not enough for you? You want proof… just tell me where to send the proof. And that will be that.

          FINALLY… I have been a Syracuse fan since 1974 (or whenever my first memory was). I went to games at Archbold and Manley Field House. I was a Freshman at Syracuse in 1987–kind of an important year. So… when I tell you that there are similarities, there is zero bias at all. Sorry.

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