Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The NCAA's Destructiveness and Penn State's Perpetual State of Apology

By Finesse

Last week I laid out reasons why the NCAA should not have punished Penn State football, but it should come as no surprise that an an organization with a lower approval rating than Obama leading a parade of illegal immigrants to the front of the line at a jobs fair in Flagstaff came down harshly.  This was low-hanging fruit for them.  The consequences of a renegade NCAA are here.  

But as a Penn State alumnus, what's more disappointing to me than the punishment is that Penn State seemingly didn't fight it at all. The public stance taken by the university (though there is at least some internal dissent) is this: Say "thoughts and prayers" as often as possible, be in a perpetual state of apology and hope to "heal" by letting people repeatedly punch you in the face.

Maybe I have more faith in society than most, but I think we have the capacity to process multiple things at once.  You can apologize for what happened without apologizing for absolutely everything you are as an institution.  You can be against child abuse at the same time you're for Penn State.  I have nothing to apologize for and neither does anyone else who went to the school, goes to the school, or is connected with the school, as long as they had nothing to do with Sandusky.  President Rodney Erickson should have stood up for the school and made an argument that we can actually distinguish bad actors from bad places.  

Instead, the Penn State administration is continuously caving to the Outrage Police who swoop in, demand apologies, and then say your apologies will never be enough.  So why not circle the wagons with the people who have been with the school all along the way?  I'm not advocating that the school run from its mistakes or only fight to protect football; just stop volunteering to lay down on the tracks in front of the steamroller.  

By signing the Consent Decree without pushing back at all, Erickson didn't just throw the baby out with the bathwater.  He gave the NCAA the launch codes and let them nuke the whole house.

9 comments:

  1. But Erickson claims it was either agree to the punishment or accept a multi-year death penalty, so if that's true would you still feel the same way?

    http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/college/football/view/20120724rodney_erickson_took_ncaas_deal_rather_than_accept_death_penalty/

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  2. I read that same story, and I do still feel the same way. Even though the school's back was against the wall, I think they could have made a compelling case that the NCAA was overstepping its bounds with that punishment. It would have taken a strong stomach by the school to put up that fight, but I think it would have been worth it (though, obviously, there's a lot else on the school's plate).

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  3. Replies
    1. I thought I might have had that wrong.

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    2. Blame it on the university you attended.

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  4. The attitude you seem to want PSU to adopt, basically "Geez, that's too bad about those kids, but it's not like we were personally buggering them in the shower" is pretty much the same attitude that Paterno, Curley, Schultz, and Spanier all adopted. You have a situation where the most powerful figure on campus, his nominal boss, his boss' boss, and his boss' boss' boss, all knew that an employee of theirs was a child rapist, and decided that protecting the institution's prestige and/or the prestige of its most powerful figure was more important that protecting those kids. How does a coverup of child rape that encompasses everyone from the head football coach to the university president not suggest something rotten in the university itself? You talk about distinguishing bad actors from bad places, but if this isn't a case of BOTH the actors and the place being bad/rotten/diseased, then I'm not sure the concept of "bad place" has any meaning at all.

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    1. I respect that viewpoint and recognize that it's one many people share. I just disagree.

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  5. I absolutely agree...........wait til the NCAA comes knocking on the door of your University. I think due process should have prevailed and then the President should have consulted the Board members before signing the decree.....Again, the only ones that suffered are the children and the students.....Who is Jerry Sundusky......? Never hear his name, but I know Joe Paterno...you can't turn on the news without hearing how he caused this whole fiasco. Life has taught me, no one person could have perpetuated this cover up.........Look out Governor Tom Corbett; you are NEXT.............

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    1. Jerry Sandusky is going to spend the rest of his life in prison, and deservedly so. Joe Paterno got some wins taken off his college coaching record, plus his family will get to cash in on their perpetual victimhood from now until the end of time. Let's not pretend Paterno got the harsher punishment here.

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