What Happens Next?
PENN STATE BEING PUNISHED – LEAVE NCAA OUT OF IT
By the title of this, you might be surprised I went to school at the University of Pittsburgh, am a die-hard Pitt Football fan, have despised Penn State since 1989. You also may be surprised that before 2011 I amongst many of my friends had already called Joe Paterno, a fraud, believed that his national image was steeped in the mythology of Penn State and not reality. Being a die-hard Pitt fan is to grow up with hatred toward Penn St and Joe Paterno. The University of Pittsburgh, students and alumni have had to endure years of living in the Penn State shadow of infallibility.
So why am I not shouting from the rooftops to banish Penn St football? Why are you foolishly thinking that I am somehow being a Penn State apologist? Why should Penn State have football in Happy Valley?
The answer is simple; a group of people deserve to be punished, Penn State deserves to be punished, but an NCAA punishment will not be justice, it will be revenge.
The group of people that deserve to be punished: Paterno, Spanier, Schulz and Curley will be punished, and I am much more interested in seeing them criminally and financially punished. I look forward to those three being convicted and tossed in jail with no mercy. I am interested in the civil lawsuits that they face, and upon watching Jay Paterno’s sad defense this week, I fully expect the Paterno’s to face civil lawsuits.
However, in answering the question of should the NCAA get involved – absolutely not: First, the NCAA is an organization whose mission is not based in criminal activity, but in the pursuit of fairness and competitive balance in college athletics. While many make the case that this falls into the lack of institutional control or some other loosely worded bylaws, this is not the ballpark of the NCAA. I agree that the culture of Penn State football is culpable, but largely culpable for allowing criminal activity, not for helping Penn State defeat Michigan. If the NCAA does become involved, where does this stop? Where was the NCAA during Florida’s reign of great football teams and a host of arrests? Where was the NCAA when University of Miami dominated football on and off the field? This is a precedent that should not be set and do you trust the NCAA to make judgments as to what programs should be punished for criminal missteps?
That was the easiest argument to combat, but I stand behind the NCAA has no business in this affair. The bigger reason Penn State football should not fear NCAA punishment is the lives this would destroy.
The only people anyone mentioned that will hurt by the loss of football are the players and coaches of Penn State football. Those are the last people I am talking about: Without Penn State football, how does Penn State survive as a University?
How hypocritical of media and others when they talk about how Penn State officials did not care about the victims, when they now stand in front of the masses and shout that they don’t care about the following: Penn St students, faculty, staff, employees, the other sports programs at Penn St, and the community that includes business owners and the job force in that community. I am sure to be missing many more, and let’s not forget about the citizens of Pennsylvania.
Penn St is about to be embroiled in hundreds of millions dollars worth of lawsuits, lawyer fees, etc. Who pays for this? The money that Penn State Football brings the University will surely be necessary to pay. I read one article that talked about Penn State losing its State funding and how that would be the death of the University. Is that what we really want? I despise Penn State, but not the existence of Penn St. So, the entire population of Pennsylvania pays for the misdeeds of a few. State Universities are critical to families in Pennsylvania that need to attend a State school? Have you looked at tuition rates at Carnegie Mellon or other private Universities?
Penn State football helps pay for all of the other athletics programs at Penn St, and would adversely affect all of the Penn State athletes, and would probably result in programs shutting down. The dominos continue to fall that would include the faculty and staff at Penn State. How many employees are in the Penn State system, families depending on Penn State for their livelihood? Who is thinking about the community of Happy Valley, business owners and their employees that depend on Saturday football, and the boom to their economy from Penn State Football and beyond?
The argument that Penn State has to prove that football is not bigger than the University itself is wrong. It has to prove that winning football games is not bigger than the University. A loss of football to this community would destroy the lives of too many innocent people.
Should Penn State be punished, yes and they are being punished. The school will be dealing with financial issues for a long time, the school will be dealing with a tarnished image, their athletic programs will be treated similarly to the Miami Heat, playing in front of hostile crowds, and their student-athletes being disparaged for choosing to play at Penn State. Penn State graduates and current students job interviews now become about Penn State as much as their academic record and readiness for the position. The sheer magnitude of this story will put Penn St graduates in difficult positions as they seek employment. As a Penn State trustee said, “"I think we have to take some time, some reflection and distance before making a decision on how we will think about Joe Paterno's entire life and body of work." Would you hire someone that felt that way?
I am for justice, and Penn State should pay for its past. However, eliminating football is not justice – it is revenge and that will not heal the victims or bring Joe Paterno back to life to face the music. Although I would not be against Jay Paterno being the guy who gets dunk tanked at carnivals around the country.
David Adelman was a college basketball assistant for nine years, seven years as a Division 1 assistant and spent two years as the General Manager and Assistant Coach for the Westchester Wildfire in the professional league USBL. He currently resides in Chicago where he operates his Play Hard Hoops Business (www.playhardhoops.com) that includes, but is not limited to basketball instruction and events.