First, we hang ’em. Then, we’ll give ’em a fair trial.

Mike Leach, football coach and lawyer, says this about the NCAA pronouncing final sentence on Penn State:

“I haven’t really thought it through carefully on that,” Leach said. “It’s hard to say. I guess the question is: Where does the legal system begin and end coupled with the NCAA? But this is a unique and extreme circumstance to it.”  [Emphasis added.]

That’s all the ambiguity wrapped up in a nutshell.  We won’t know the answer to that until the next time the public gets its panties in a wad over something related to college athletics, I’m afraid.  I just hope when that happens, my school is far, far away from the action.


Filed under The NCAA

87 responses to “First, we hang ’em. Then, we’ll give ’em a fair trial.

  1. HVL Dawg

    I haven’t heard anyone mentioning how much Penn State needed this unprecedented NCAA action. Penn State is in a very vulnerable position on a lot of fronts. There are the legal problems, but there are plenty others. Penn State had to show to a lot of people that the culture that created this terrible mess is stopped. They needed to admit to some serious wrong doing and to take some serious punishment so that they could start dealing with their daily business and restore the value of their institution. The NCAA is the necessary bogeyman for Penn State.

    This punishment was negotiated and was beneficial for both parties.

    • gastr1

      Neither Penn State nor the NCAA could afford to be slow on the draw or to have PSU in a bowl game.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    I don’t understand at least part of your confusion. The NCAA has never been part of the legal system. The criminal justice system, on the other hand, does not have the authority to basically dismantle Penn State football, or if it does have the authority it has never used that authority.

    The NCAA has used what it calls consent decrees many times in the past and while I would debate the use of the term at all because of its relationship to “lawyer language” in this case it seems to make sense.

    I do think the NCAA should restrain itself when it uses legal terms…they have an enforcement process, but it is not “due process” for instance. Lots of folks apparently find this confusing.

    Having said all that, as I have said before, do I expect the NCAA to issue every ruling so that we all agree with it? Not a chance.

    Ultimately the problem I have always had with the NCAA is that I and you have no voice in what they do.

    So if the Penn State ruling is some way a reaction to the public voice, is that not a good thing?

    And again, if not the NCAA, then who?

    • And again, if not the NCAA, then who?

      To do what, exactly?

      Punish those who broke the law? That’s what the criminal justice system is for.

      Make the school compensate the victims? That’s what the civil courts are for.

      Change the culture of college athletics? Please, who are we kidding here? If the NCAA were truly serious about that, PSU would have gotten the death penalty. But that screws up TV contracts, so forget about it.

      By the way, explain to me why this is a football problem in the first place. None of Paterno’s superiors were football coaches. Shouldn’t the entire athletics department have been punished to atone for the sins of the AD?

      You’ve got your problem with the NCAA; I’ve got mine. Mine is that it often acts arbitrarily and capriciously. Having public support for that doesn’t make it better.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Senator I began reacting to what happened at Penn State, like you were, in horror that the NCAA was sticking its nose in.

        Over time I came to realize that despite my protestations to the contrary, this WAS a football problem.

        The criminal justice system either has done or will do what it should do in responding to the crimes committed and to the people who abetted the crime.

        What that leaves is the cultural process that allowed the crimes and abetting (sic?) to continue.

        Yes, the civil penalties, in a sense address that, but it just seems to me the only governing body that has controlling the culture in its mission statement is the NCAA.

        If I may, many, many people, including your good friend Anderson Cooper, made their bones picking at FEMA following hurricane Katrina. FEMA failed, FEMA was inept….blah, blah, blah…well the truth is that FEMA did the best it could with an unbelievable situation. Did FEMA make mistakes…of course it did, but ultimately FEMA got the blame because FEMA was the most public of all the actors in that tragedy.

        It seems to me the NCAA is in a similar position here…

        I do agree with the NCAA that Penn State’s penalities are worse than the death penalty because their once pround football team will be around for four years getting the shit kicked out of it….publicly humiliated.

        How is the death penalty worse than that?

        I am at least as concerned as you are about the NCAA’s apparent (to us) inconsistencies and lack of transparency, and you may be right that this is just tilting at windmills.

        And believe me, I am very very glad Jan Kemp happened in the mid-80’s.

        • I have railed at the NCAA and Emmert for incompetence, high-handedness and hypocrisy for years – and the thing is, I don’t remember getting much pushback from any commenters about that until now. So is it suddenly that they’ve turned it all around, or is it that we’re simply willing to hold our noses because the stench from Happy Valley is worse?

          Tell me something: what would be your reaction if the NCAA had reacted in a similar way to the Duke lacrosse scandal? After all, there was an investigation, right?

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            “is it that we’re simply willing to hold our noses because the stench from Happy Valley is worse?”


            Much worse…I suspect my reaction to the Duke lacrosse deal would have (and should have) been the same as this one. I don’t really know, I am, we all are, part of the football lunatic fringe, not lacrosse fringe (that’s the game with sticks, right?) what I have read about the Duke deal indicates to me the NCAA should have done.

            And back atcha….if the NCAA had suspended Calvin Johnson four games because he sold his jersey, what would your reaction have been?

            Maybe there has been no pushback because our little corner of the football lunatic fringe…the intellectual, wine and cheese contingent, if you will, agree with you.

            In this, and maybe only this once, I disagree, so I am, I hope, gently pushing back.

            Bureaucracies like the NCAA step in the bucket constantly…it is almost part of their nature, and if you view this as a foot-in-bucket moment for the NCAA that is your certain right.

            Please don’t get your panties in a wad.

            • You do realize that in the Duke case (1) the rape allegations turned out to be false, (2) the players were exonerated and (3) the prosecutor was eventually disbarred for misconduct, right?

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                Yep, now that you mention it, I do remember all that….so I would, then, be wrong in saying the NCAA’s reaction would be the same as in the Penn State situation.

                That’s a lawyer trick there, a diversion, I see what you are doing.

                • Lrgk9

                  Yeah, us lawyers often use the truth as a tactic to try and divert contrary opinions. You are absolutely right on that !

                  • Scorpio Jones, III

                    Yes, we do….but I am not sure the truth of the Duke case is relevant to Penn State, is it?

                    • Mayor of Dawgtown

                      Well let’s just wait and see. Freeh report or no Freeh report the only person convicted of any misconduct thus far is the perp himself, Sandusky. If the NCAA had acted like this in the Duke situation it would have punished an innocent program. There has been a rush to judgment here and I am concerned that precedent has now been set that in future cases this will result in innocent programs being penalized prematurely. This whole thing is a power grab by the NCAA to make its President the de facto Commissioner Of College Football and, I anticipate, of all college sports. This action by the NCAA really wasn’t about Penn State or the abused children. This is about an organization that has used this crisis to seize more power.

                    • gastr1

                      Come on, they have already presented evidence of a cover-up and perjury by all of the main coverers. What more do you need? The NCAA penalized PSU for letting football compromise the integrity of the institution. PSU agreed to it advance…how else should the NCAA have handled it, when doing nothing because it isn’t “in the by-laws” is not an acceptable option?

          • GaskillDawg

            The Duke lacrosse scandal was nothing like the PSU affair. The Duke lacrosse coach did not influence the Duke administration to abet the crime so that the Duke lacrosse team could avoid fallout from bad publicity that the coach and the university would negatively affect the sports program.

            How would I react if the NCAA had reacted in a similar way to the Duke lacrosse scandal? I would believe that the NCAA had no jurisdiction over the matter. However, saying the NCAA should not respond to PSU making the candy the child molester uses to attract victims and covering up its complicity in order to advance its football program since we worry the NCAA may overstep its bounds in another unrelated circumstance is an approach I disagree with.

            • So you’re saying it’s the cover up and not the crime itself that justifies NCAA involvement?

              If that’s the case, Ohio State got off lightly.

              • GaskillDawg

                You left out the part about PSU making the candy the child molester uses to attract victims available to him. PSU knew that Sandusky was using his access to the PSU program as an attraction to the kids and it allowed him to use it for years after it had knowledge of it. That is arguably aiding and abetting the crime. OSU players getting free tatts is not a crime. OSU did not aid and abet felonies. PSU did. That is one huge difference between the two. A second significant difference is that PSU’s rot went all the way into the president’s office. PSU’s actions were institutional policy, not just football and AD’s policy. Covering up players getting free tatts differs significantly from lying to a grand jury about PSU’s role in child molesation. I am comfortable that OSU’s penalty is lighter than PSU’s considering the difference in the matters.

                • Please show me in the NCAA’s guidelines and rules where lying to a grand jury is grounds for NCAA sanctions.

                  • GaskillDawg

                    Okay, I will accept that challenge.

                    First, realize that PSU admitted that Joe Pa’s and its other leaders failed to do their duty in order to protect the football program. They believed that somehow the football program would suffer if PSU did the right thing. That provides the link to athletics. If you wish to argue with PSU that it is wrong and protecting athletics had nothing to do with its decisions in regard to Sandusky’s crime wave, then that is between you and PSU.

                    Taking as true PSU’s admission that protecting damage to football was the reason fior its actions, I can quickly cite a could of sections of the 2009 NCAA Manual. I do not have quick access to any updated Manual, but I am comfortable that the provisions quoted below were probably in effect from 1998 through 2011.

                    First, consider the Manual’s statment of principles.
                    For intercollegiate athletics to promote the character development of participants, to enhance the integrity of higher education and to promote civility in society, student-athletes, coaches, and all others associated with these athletics programs and events should adhere to such fundamental values as respect, fairness, civility, honesty and responsibility. These values should be manifest not only in athletics participation, but also in the broad spectrum of activities affecting the athletics program. It is the responsibility of each institution to: (Revised: 1/9/96)
                    (a) Establish policies for sportsmanship and ethical conduct in intercollegiate athletics consistent with the educational mission and goals of the institution; and (Adopted: 1/9/96)
                    (b) Educate, on a continuing basis, all constituencies about the policies in Constitution 2.4-(a).

                    I respectfully contend that lying to a grand jury regarding a topic affecting the football team’s interest violates the principle of
                    “enhanc[ing] the integrity of higher education.”

                    I respectfully contend that lying to a grand jury regarding a topic affecting the football team’s interest violates the principle of
                    “promot[ing] civility in society.”

                    I respectfully contend that lying to a grand jury regarding a topic affecting the football team’s interest is contrary to “fundamental values as respect, fairness, civility, honesty and responsibility.”

                    That rule also reminds the members that “These values should be manifest . . . in the broad spectrum of activities affecting the athletics program.” I respectfully contend that enabling a moelster to rape children and lying to a grand jury to avoid perceived damage to the football program falls within “the broad spectrum of activities affecting the athletics program.”

                    That rule defines the broad principles of the organization. The Manual then sets forth the rules of conduct and provides guidance as to the purpiose of those rules.

                    “10.01 GENERAL PRINCIPLE
                    10.01.1 Honesty and Sportsmanship. Individuals employed by (or associated with) a member institution to administer, conduct or coach intercollegiate athletics and all participating student-athletes shall act with honesty and sportsmanship at all times so that intercollegiate athletics as a whole, their institutions and they, as individuals, shall represent the honor and dignity of fair play and the generally recognized high standards associated with wholesome competitive sports.”

                    The head football coach lying to a grand jury to protect his program is not “acting with honesty.”

                    The Manual further sets fprth standards relating to honesty.

                    “11.1.1 Standards of Honesty and Sportsmanship. Individuals employed by or associated with a member institution to administer, conduct or coach intercollegiate athletics shall act with honesty and sportsmanship at all times so that intercollegiate athletics as a whole, their institutions and they, as individuals, represent the honor and dignity of fair play and the generally recognized high standards associated with wholesome competitive sports. (See Bylaw 10 for more specific ethical-conduct standards.)”

                    I contend that a coach who lies to a grand jury to propect his football team is not acting with honesty.

                    Once I concluded that PSU’s actions and inactions were to benefit football, a position that PSU itself takes, I have no problem concluding that its actions and inactions violated the MCAA manual.

                    The contrasting case isn’t OSU and the tatts. A hypothetical contrasting case would be if the dean of PSU’s college of arts and sciences was aware that a professor of music was using access to the music department to attract boys for rape, continued to allow access after learning of it, gave the professor a generous severance package and designated him “emeritus” and continued to allow access, even after learning the music professor was raping children in the building, and lied to a grand jury so as to not affect PSU’s reputation in the music field. That set of facts does not suggest any actions or inactions affecting athletics and the NCAA sould not have jurisdiction to penalize the sports programs. The real PSU case, though, was about protecting football and was therefore within the NCAA’s jurisdiciton.

                    • The Lone Stranger


                    • Scorpio Jones, III

                      Good work, dude…seems to make this whole argument moot.

                    • Cojones

                      Hear, hear!

                    • gastr1

                      Agreed. Thanks for the diligence.

                    • Mayor of Dawgtown

                      Everyone else seems to be agreeing with you so I will (devil’s advocate as always) disagree. The Penn State situation was not about football. Paying players to play, unethical recruiting tactics, that sort of thing–that IS about football. Any fair reading of the NCAA Rules cited above would not put a reasonable person on notice that having a perverted child abuser on a team’s staff and sweeping that fact under the rug, including lying to a grand jury about what you knew and when you knew it, would invoke the jurisdiction of the NCAA to impose penalties on the football program. Nothing in those cited Rules even remotely gives the NCAA the authority to fine any institution $60,000,000 like was done in this case. Finally, and most problematically, nothing in the Rules gives the President blanket authority to impose punishment by fiat, merely making up a punishment that he deems appropriate. The fact that this punishment was accepted by Penn State is of no consequence. That will all e forgotten by the time another “by fiat” situation rears its ugly head and everyone will just assume that the NCAA has the authority it displayed in this case. The President of the NCAA, prior to a few days ago, did not even arguably have the authority to impose such punishments. The fact that in the middle of the night an ex post facto vote was taken that appears to give the President of the NCAA such powers only underscores the threat to NCAA member institutions that has been created. This action has, in effect, created a Commissioner of College Football with broad and sweeping powers way beyond those that existed only a few days ago. Personally, I don’t really care about Penn State. I hope that all those who participated in this rot in jail. However, I am worried about the future actions of the NCAA in situations that are not this clear cut, abusing this new power. That other people whose opinions I respect seem concerned about this as well reinforces my belief that this action by the NCAA is unfounded. That you and others do not seem to understand the potential for danger to other institutions by this frankly boogles the mind.

                    • Joe Barton

                      I like your style, Gaskilldawg. As well as your logic. Using your logic, I respectfully contend that the “general welfare” clause of the U.S. Constitution can be expanded to give Congress purview over intercollegiate athletics. I will be holding hearings shortly.

                      For the kids.

                    • Jimmy Williamson

                      I respectfully contend that emerging from an alley is not conducive to honesty, fairness, and all the rest of that crap.

                  • J.R. Clark

                    Sure. Check out Bylaw Section 10: Ethics. Read carefully the opening paragraph…the language gives the NCAA unlimited latitude to determine what is unethical behavior by an athlete, coach, or staff member.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                Of course TOSU got off lightly, and I assume that lightness is part of what is causing the angst…where’s the consistency, right?

                It may be true that TOSU got off lightly, but there, in my mind, is no comparison either in the length of time the behavior was covered up or in the degree to which the administration was involved in the coverup.

                As I say below, the Penn State problem went on for AT LEAST a decade and a half, AT LEAST….while TOSU may have gotten off easy, there really is no comparison when you consider the time span and the crime at Penn State.

                Surely you are not suggesting that.

                • No, I think the whole cover up versus crime distinction in nonsensical. The NCAA reacted to Sandusky being a monster. If it turned out that he’d been, say, systematically and feloniously helping PSU players commit Pell Grant fraud and the school covered that up, I doubt we’d be hearing the same hue and cry today.

                  • Scorpio Jones, III

                    If you have to get into a hypothetical situation to make your point, aren’t you making mine?

                  • GaskillDawg

                    I disagree. The NCAA reacted to PSU enabling the monster. Remeber, PSU consented to the findings and punishment. I am not interested in taking my time to argue that it was wrong about its confession.

                    Maybe the NCAA would have punished PSU more lightly if PSU was helping Sanduskly commit Pell Grant fraud. To me child molestation is a more horrible crime and I have no problem punishing PSU for assisting in child molestation harsher than pubnishing it for assisting in Pell Grant fraud.

                    • Scorpio Jones, III

                      “Which point are you referring to? That everyone accused of a crime is guilty? That the NCAA always behaves rationally, fairly and consistently?”

                      I never said the first,…wait, let me make sure… best I can tell, nope… and never said the second, anywhere, anytime. We are absolutely in agreement on that point.

                      I think I smell obfuscation here.

                      You do have my permission to disagree with me, however I still think when you have to gin up a hypothetical situation to make your point you have lost that portion of the argument.

            • Absolutely correct, Duke lax nothing like PSU.
              I’m not going to repeat points, but one fact in the Duke case needs mentioning. When the Duke Administration found out about the allegations concerning the team, they promptly cancelled the entire season and fired Coach Pressler. Now, this Duke team was highly favored to win the NCAA Championship, and was the absolute best assemblage of lax players I’ve ever seen in NCAA lacrosse, and Coach Pressler was an excellent young coach with a bright future.
              There was no attempt at covering up these allegations by the administration, in fact the opposite occurred, and the Duke administration made several extremely hasty and overreaching decisions before the entire facts were known. They were hung first, and tried later.

      • CJ

        “Why is this a football problem in the first place?”

        The Good Senator…I thought you may have a better grip on this…

        When the head football coach has a say in what action is taken towards someone…that someone who was a former football coach, and was bringing kids on campus for a football camp…who was caught in the act of improper physical contact with a young boy in a shower following one of these camps by one of the football staff who reported it to the Head Football Coach… in addition to members of the custodial staff that didn’t act for fear of the power of the Head Football coach….that’s a football issue.

        When the school Senior Executive Powers allow the Head Football Coach to basically control what policies and laws are obeyed or not…that’s a football issue.

        You have to wonder what else was swept under the rug…sorry for all the PSU supporters out there, but their old coach was running the school…not just the football program. That’s why their in the position they are in now…and that’s a football issue that the NCAA has decided to address….

        Now that’s just my opinion, and there’s a million and one others out there…but to me it’s pretty clear why this is a football problem. Not to mention, what if that had been one of Coach Paterno’s boys? How might he of acted then? I’d imagine quite differently…you also mention the powers that Paterno reported to. That comes back to the lack of institutional control issue. They didn’t want to stain the image of the school…well they did a bang up job! Nice work gentleman!

        American by birth, and Southern by the Grace of God! GO DAWGS!

        • AlphaDawg

          I believe there was plenty of Institutional control in this case, the issue is the institutition in question was Joe Pa not Penn State.

  3. jermainesdye

    “Panties in a wad”? A writer of your skill could’ve turned a better phrase than that and foregone one that seems to minimize the outrage of the child-rape and systematic cover-up at Penn State.

    I don’t quite get the excessive hand-wringing over the NCAA. As if THAT was the true take away from this sorry state of affairs.

    Why talented CFB bloggers like yourself and Spencer Hall continue to beat this single drum is something of a mystery.

    Scipio Tex, over at Barking Carnival, captures accurately the frame for discussing what’s transpired this week:

    I have mixed emotions on the severity of the penalty – particularly some of its prospective elements – and as I reason through the implications, it’s clear to me that the death penalty would have been far more kind – but when every level of your school administration harbors, and through its inaction – abets – a known pedophile in order to serve the legacy of a Paterno personality cult that had grown indistinguishable from the football program and university itself; while continuing to allow a predator to use the program to awe and groom more victims for years after his offenses were known, it’s hard to muster much sympathy for the culture of an institution that profoundly off-the-rails.

    The worst scandal in the history of college football…perhaps of all American sports, and we want to wring our hands about the projected jurisprudence of the NCAA?

    • My reference was to the public outcry for the NCAA to do something, not to the horror of what Sandusky did. That you’ve managed to cross the two is exactly why I find this problematic.

      • jermainesdye

        You wrote:

        “We won’t know the answer to that until the next time the public gets its panties in a wad over something related to college athletics.”

        You did not write:

        “We won’t know the answer to that until the next time there’s public outcry over something related to college athletics.”

        There’s a difference. The first seeks to minimize the outcry in this present case, at this time.

      • Lrgk9

        And Senator – you are right in doing so. The NCAA is arbitrary and capricious.

    • DCDAWG

      I feel the same way. I’m still not sure why we’re upset over the NCAA rulings. To me, it feels like libertarians asking the government “big brother”, “NCAA” “Mark Emmert” to stay out. I just don’t see how that makes sense here.

      I’m hoping we move on from this story and back to a better CFB discussion. That’s what I’ve always loved about GTP.

    • If this punishment was meant to treat Happy Valley like the Romans treated Carthage, delenda est. If it was meant to instruct, couching the horror of these crimes in football terms diminishes them. So we’re left with a general sense of righteous vengeance, the cologne of the knee-jerk. [Emphasis added.]

      This in your mind is a laudable goal for the NCAA?

      • Chopper Reid

        “Hi everyone, this is Jemainesdye. Jermainesdye gets his panties in a wad over the phrase ‘panties in a wad’. HTFU Jermainesdye.”

      • jermainesdye

        I don’t think Scipio is writing in legalese jargon of NCAA by-laws or Mission Statements when he writes about the “cologne of the knee jerk.” I think he using figurative language. Just as I don’t think he means that the NCAA is literally Rome and Penn State literally Carthage, but it’s an interesting metaphoric parallel given that Carthage was notorious for the hideous practice of child-sacrifice.

        And while perhaps “cologne of the knee jerk” is not the laudable goal of the NCAA, in some cases, like this case, to finish Scipio’s thought, “it smells okay.”

        • Like I said, I’m not a big fan of “ends justify the means”. Obviously YMMV. As it does for many in this case, admittedly.

          • jermainesdye

            Fair enough.

            Curious–if this same scandal, in size and scope, happened at UGA, what self-imposed measures (if any) would seem just to you as an alum
            of the university and as a fan?

            • Fire everyone involved, cooperate fully with all criminal investigations, set up painfully transparent procedures to make sure nothing like it could ever happen again and settle fairly, quickly and quietly with the victims.

              If you want something closer to home and reality, I think the NCAA should have nailed Georgia for the Harricks’ academic fraud. Big time. Now that would have sent a loud and clear message about not tolerating business as usual in college athletics.

              But of course it’s much easier to take action in response to a rare extreme circumstance than it is to more everyday abuses, if you’re the NCAA.

              • jermainesdye

                For the most part, I’m with you. I’d also include the 60 million (or equivalent to our football revenue) to a non-profit group to help victims of sexual abuse. I’d also not take the field for a season. Shut it down. For a year.

                I think you’re right on the Harrick situation and the myriad other examples ranging from the fundamental hypocrisy of the institution of the NCAA (see Branch, Taylor) or the mind-bending obscenity of 2010 and A.J. Green-Jersey-Gate and the eligibility of one Cameron J. Netwon.

                • You’ve hit on part of my problem with all of this. Nobody has a problem hammering folks who cover up a pattern of child rape. But when it comes to all those things that really are under the jurisdiction of the NCAA, suddenly things get a whole lot less black and white.

                  • Cojones

                    And I believe this issue became black and white to the NCAA through the Freeh Report because it showed further complicity between Paterno and the administration. It further demonstrated the lack of control by the university admin over the Paterno football program than had been known up to that time.

                    Many of us have made it clear that we are not necessarily fans of this NCAA due to the sudden deposition of frontpage events that have assailed it in a small spate of time. This was one that just added more kinks to the argument and was a time that they acted correctly based upon new info in the Freeh Report. My opinion is that the NCAA didn’t want to get this far into the matter, but once they crossed the threshold by saying they would look into whether it constituted infractions against the rules of the members, they were locked into action by the last damning evidence.

                    I cannot nit-pic the NCAA for taking the authority they were given and using it to it’s fullest in this case. They have become less of a patsy to be used by Delaney and the Big 10. And since Delaney has been given a sitdown in an obvious grab for power emanating from this NCAA action, I think the field is beginning to level slightly.Good for the NCAA.

  4. Governor Milledge

    The sanctity of the football program, and its revenue generating ways, as well as the Cult of Paterno, was the reason this coverup lasted so long. If Sandusky had been a chemistry professor, or even a head coach in a non-revenue sport, don’t you think the outcome at the institution would’ve been vastly different?

    By the NCAA neutering PSU football for the next 10 years minimum, they also blow apart the rest of the PSU athletic department as well as the general culture of the University. I do think the Death Penalty still would’ve been a far worse punishment, as the program would’ve had to make a cold restart immediately after sanctions ending, while the consent decree’s punishment allows some semblance of a football program to eke out an existence in the interim.

    I don’t think the NCAA ever stated that they struck out to ‘change the culture of college athletics’ when designing PSU’s consent decree. They set out to change the culture at PSU; while a Death Penalty would’ve been more effective over the long haul in doing so, 10 years of bottom dwelling in the B1G and a permanent scarlet letter on the program will still do a lot to change the culture which enabled everyone to turn a blind eye to Sandusky.

    • “In punishing the Penn State football program with an unprecedented series of sanctions, President Mark Emmert said he hopes the NCAA has served notice that a win-at-all-costs mentality in major college football won’t be tolerated.”

      Sure sounds like he’s after more than just PSU.

      • Governor Milledge

        The route taken in punishing PSU also serves as a warning shot. It would be foolish as a leader on any level to not also consider the collateral effects, if any, of a decision, especially one with such dire consequences on a member institution.

        I think the Cam Newton saga, and the general public outcry that went unserved, shows a certain level of restraint on the NCAA from trying to appease the masses in the future (even though I think we all saw the spirit of the regs, at minimum, called for swift sanctions on Auburn).

        There’s no doubt that the PSU situaton, in terms of breadth, depth, and hideousness, is unprecedented and so patently obvious that major sanctions on a wide scale would be meted out against the institution at some point. PSU saw all of this coming down the track and simply played damage control on multiple fronts in accepting the consent decree. Regarding potential future sanctions, how many future NCAA punishments will be preceded by a criminal trial, a conviction, and an independent internal investigation by a former head of the FBI?

        The fact that the PSU sanctions put other institutions “on notice” is also a collateral effect which the NCAA would warmly embrace is just cream cheese (or icing on the cake).

        I am interested to see how the PSU path affects Miami’s route through the NCAA process. Golden violating recruting rules while the program is already under investigation for major recruiting violations (and is on probation) could serve as a great first test case of where exactly Emmert is planning to take NCAA compliance, if he is truly charting a new course. Nothing from the NCAA in this case so far has shown eagerness to accelerate the organization’s due process timeline or force Miami’s hand to accept a consent decree early.

        I personally would think that Miami would deserve sanctions solidly in between Southern Cal’s and PSU’s, especially in light of the program history. Does that mean the Death Penalty, when PSU’s punishment has been framed as “worse than the death penalty”?

        • The route taken in punishing PSU also serves as a warning shot. It would be foolish as a leader on any level to not also consider the collateral effects, if any, of a decision, especially one with such dire consequences on a member institution.

          I said this yesterday: people are going to jail, Paterno’s legacy lies in tatters, the school’s good name is destroyed and it’s going to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to its victims. Do you really think any sane administrator thinks this morning, “wow, I wasn’t worried about the consequences until I heard Emmert lay the hammer down”?

          This wasn’t about sending a warning to other schools. It’s about responding to the public’s demand that the NCAA should do something.

          • Governor Milledge

            Your main concern, from what I gather, is how the public hue and cry can trigger NCAA action, which could lend itself to arbitrariness between individual actions.

            I think the NCAA dropping a heavy hammer could prevent arbitrariness between NCAA actions over the long-term, if Emmert is actually steering NCAA enforcement and compliance in a different direction. Institutions will realize when they’ve got their hand caught in the cookie jar, and have the option of two things: They can plead out and accept a consent decree, or go to trial and fight and gamble that the consequences handed back down from the NCAA won’t be as severe as the initial consent decree settlement offer.

            No one ever self-imposes serious sanctions on themselves, since where is the incentive in going too far when the NCAA will still continue to investigate? But if institutions have the option to plead out and move forward (with the NCAA similarly having the option to not offer a deal and move forward with an investigation), why wouldn’t a range of norms/standardized punishments evolve, reducing arbitrariness?

            Similarly, if the backlog of cases is reduced, potentially more investigative resources and time could be dumped on each case which moves forward in the process, ultimately yielding quicker turnaround for sanctions on all fronts.

            I’m not suggesting this is the ideal situation, since inevitably a minor incident pleaded out could just be the tip of the iceberg at a school, but it could allow the NCAA to do more with the same resources and promote a more standardized norm of sanctions to evolve.

            The NCAA process to this point has never encouraged a norm to evolve between sanctions anyways, as it has always individually weighed the situation of individual schools and actions taken per incident.

            • Sorry, but that’s nothing but “and a pony” wishful thinking. The fact is there’s nothing in the NCAA’s history – or Emmert’s – to suggest that such a radical transformation is underway.

              But I tell you what. If five years from now, it turns out that pony did show up, I’ll be the first to praise them both to the skies.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                I don’t think you need to dust off your riding boots…the idea a bureaucracy can radically change the way it does anything in five years is unlikely…oh…wait, did I just reinforce your point?

                I hate it when that happens.

              • Governor Milledge

                Oh, I fully agree the above is nothing beyond trying to read the tea leaves. I think it would be a big step in the right direction, though.

                Arbitrarily responding to public demands can lead to some very bad outcomes (see 18th Amendment and the Volstead Acts).

          • paul

            “This wasn’t about sending a warning to other schools. It’s about responding to the public’s demand that the NCAA should do something.” I think you are correct. And, no doubt the NCAA is acting way beyond its established processes, procedures and boundaries in this instance. Which is troubling to say the least. On the other hand if you mosey on over to blogs like Black Shoe Diaries you can find ample encouragement for doing so. The scope of the denial on public display is staggering. Jay Paterno is indignant that his family wasn’t consulted prior to this deal being agreed to. Joe is constantly referred to as the greatest coach in the history of college football. The rest of the Happy Valley nation continues to insist that what happened was nothing more than a few fine, upstanding, decent, hard working men making a couple of regrettable decisions. It makes you want to vomit. I don’t agree with what the NCAA has done (at least not the way it was done), but I do understand their motivation for doing it. We seem to have reached a place where, while we still believe our justice system is the best in the world, we’re really frustrated with how slowly it functions. So we end up with folks like Mark Emmert trying to save us from ourselves while simultaneously attempting to remain relevant in a period of tremendous upheaval.

            • The Lone Stranger

              Too true about that P.S. website. I’ve been gauging its collective temperature for the past few days and the scene is heinous. But from long experience dealing with their kind, and in light of this hammer blow, the abject denial is what I would expect.

              The “F*** the World” crowd will hold sway and change will come hard. Though after these sanctions begin to bite in three years, and the 4-8 seasons become the norm, there will be a fresh crop of freshman rolling in. Maybe that is the “plan.” The new enrollees will see losing football in front of them and perhaps decide not to support the team as strongly.

              Oh, and they are almost universally over-venerating this new coach already too, judging from many comments.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                Jesus…if you want to read the real world life of the dazed and confused, Black Shoe Diaries is the place.

                Anybody who actually believes this punishment is NOT worse than the Death Penalty….please raise your hand.

                The Death Penalty is finite…it begins, it ends….this could go on forever, somebody up above says decades…it could be that or longer.

                And considering how long the cover up lasted, I guess that’s appropriate, but you have to feel for the kids at Penn State.

                • The Lone Stranger

                  They’ll always have wrestling. Or basketball!

                • SMU

                  A one year death penalty can have effects that last for decades, too. The Penn Staters “accepted” this punishment to avoid the death penalty.

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    Something that may be lost in this discussion, it occurs to me, is the length of time Sandusky’s crimes were covered up by the “win-at-all-costs mentality in major college football”. A decade and a half or so…and that’s just what we know about now, although there are indications it was longer, and that length of time, considering the crimes covered up, is

    • Connor

      You’re assuming that all covered up crimes eventually come uncovered. I’m certain the record is much, much more than 10 years.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        I agree it could be…what we know about…what has been admitted and tried is certainly bad enough to make this the worst case of institutional misconduct in a long list of institutional misconduct.

  6. “Where does the legal system begin and end coupled with the NCAA?”

    That’s a question that seems dire here, but it’s a rabbit hole we go down every time a player gets arrested. We almost forget about the legal system; the real question is, “what’s the coach going to do to him?”

    When I ask what role a coach has suspending a player for a DUI, the answer is discipline. You might hope to straighten out the player to prevent a repeat offense, and you hope to send a message to the other players about the standards and expectations you have for proper behavior. When discipline becomes a problem, the coach might even kick the worst offenders off the team (even a star tailback) in the hopes of getting a handle on the rest.

    The power wielded by the NCAA is on a much larger scale, but conceptually I don’t see much difference between their actions and an arbitrary “the coach has to do something” disciplinary suspension. That’s not a defense of the NCAA, and it doesn’t make me any more comfortable about the future. I’m just having trouble working up outrage after seeing the (often whimsical) extra-judicial punishments applied almost daily to athletes now applied at the organizational level.

    • reipar

      I tend to agree with your analogy, but you seem to be over looking the “process” if you will. When a football player at UGA breaks a rule (lets say a drug test) there is a process in place for what happens next. Based on type of drug/number of positives there is a penalty. He has an appeal process for the positive/penalty. He was aware ahead of time of the penalty and appeal process for breaking the rule.

      Here what we have is more akin to a football palyer breaks a rule. The public cries out for the University to do something. The University then ignores rules and process and simply seeks vengance to satisfy the public.

      This certainly may make everyone feel good in the short run and no one is going to have any sympathy for PSU with what they did. Heck you can even say something like this will never happen again so who cares that the NCAA failed to follow their own process, but in the end it is not right. Unless you think the ends justify the means in which case never mind🙂

      • Cojones

        A consent decree doesn’t constitute “due process” in this case? Wasn’t the investigative findings of the Freeh Report that was accepted by PSU part of the due process findings in this case? Or would you rather drain a few more years into this mess with a duplicative investigation of facts uncovered and accepted as true?

        Everything that the NCAA does from here on out will be microscoped to parse their actions with words that try to convince us of the boogey-bear’s raw grab for power. I will ignore those attempts to continue the paranoia toward the NCAA. If they are so vile in their business why haven’t some of you lawyers been sueing them to protect us unsuspecting idealists who don’t live in your world? Yeah, we get upset at them for not investigating to the depth that we would desire (tOSU comes to mind since their President publicly stated that Tressel was more powerful; payment for tattooes were mixed with drug operations; their qb had a fleet of vehicles to his disposal as well as other players had in the past), but I can’t succumb to a sentiment that they are suppressing Constitutional rights.

        • reipar

          Bringing up the Freeh report is an excellent point. PSU is being punished for covering these crimes up. Then when PSU launches a full scale independent investigation, which they make public, to find out how bad it really is what happens? They are punished using their own report against them. What does this mixed message say?

          As far as your point about Constitutional rights I am not sure where that comes from. I am talking about the process UGA or the NCAA has in place to govern/punish. These processes are in place to make sure the hysterical masses do not drive the bus.

        • Dog in Fla

          The Louie Louie Freeh Report which, except for a nit-pic here and a nic-pic there, is generally accepted as being somewhat accurate*

          But, onto more important things, the namaste chick’s got it going on…

          “Penn State students react as the NCAA sanctions against the university’s football program are announced on July 23.” (Gene J. Puskar / AP Photos)

          * “Remember, Louis Freeh was paid by the Penn State Board of Trustees to conduct this investigation. We’re not going to question Freeh’s credibility or track record (it’s stellar), but few were expecting his report to have far-reaching targets….Freeh, who once criticized the 9/11 Commission for leaving out critical information from their report, gave the board of trustees what amounts to a strongly worded wrist slap. He criticized their lack of institutional control, but never implicated them in any wrongdoing or cover-up….[T]he report’s biggest criticism of the board centers on their failure to demand information. That’s curious. It may just be a coincidence, but the fact that Freeh’s report stopped exactly at its paywall, if you will, raises a few eyebrows. Or at least mine.”

  7. MykieC4444

    I’m glad to see the administration punished as they are. Just wish there was a way to punish those responsible without including the players and other students on the team who had nothing to do with this situation.

  8. HVL Dawg

    The president of Penn State called a couple of his buddies on the NCAA Executive Committee and said, “Get our boy Emmert to dance out in from of a podium right now to read this statement and deliver this on us.”

  9. JoeDawg

    Hell, the NCAA didn’t do enough! They should burn the whole damn school down IMHO. Paterno and his higher-ups covered up for a SERIAL RAPIST OF CHILDREN and then allowed him to keep raping children, even on campus! I can’t believe that we’re even arguing about this. You cannot compare this to any other situation, EVER.

  10. Will Trane

    Mike Leach needs to understand PSU resides in a membership and in a contract with an association commonly know among the members as the NCAA. Without having read the rules and regulations, but based upon the actions of the NCAA infractions committee and the President, Trustees, and the Athletic Department at PSU, I would conclude they, all parties here, understand the violations and the requirements. I think the NCAA punishment for the infractions is adequate.

    I would like to add UGA’s President, Trustees, AD, and Athletic Board has looked at this very closely. In fact AD McGarity said they read and closely reviewed former FBI Director Freah’s report. It is good to see this kind of thinking and getting out in front. This is another example how the current AD is moving athletics at UGA foward as compared to what was going on just a couple of years ago.

    The lack of oversight and failure to take appropriate action by the head coach, university President, and others can not be tolerated and accepted. That would damage the reputation of all members, students, and athletes. That would be a huge cost to all, not least the young boys forever damaged in this matter. As a parent forgiveness would not come, but a law suit would within the criminal and civil actions afored me under the law. The mere appearance of this by a professor, coach, and etc can not be tolerated because it destroys everything great about a university.

    Unfortunately, PSU’s transgression sit across many fronts and the NCAA is just one. I think the NCAA acted properly and quickly in this matter to resolve it and to put it behind as the current 2012 football season is close at hand. Collegiate sports are a great institution…great bond for the generations who pass thru the halls, campuses, and stadiums of its members.

    I would hope Mike Leach would rethink this a littel more.

    • Dog in Fla

      Fire Mike Leach!

    • Cojones

      The review by our administrators- please excuse me while I start WWIII. I wonder how many member organizations have done just that as an after action exercise and wonder how many said, “There, but for the Grace of God , go us.” while others exclaimed,”Oh, shit!”

  11. Is membership in the NCAA voluntary? Yes.

    Did the member institutions grant this authority to Emmert and Co. to punish a football program that allowed and covered up sexual abuse in its facilities to protect a coach and said football program? Yes.

    Did Penn State take a plea deal – waving its right to due process – instead of facing the death penalty for four years? Reportedly.

    I don’t understand the uproar about the NCAA’s actions. Penn State could have fought it, but they chose not to. The next school can fight it if they choose… and from the sounds of anonymous appellant committee members, it wouldn’t hold up.

    The public (and fellow member institutions) wanted JoePa and “his creation” punished. The NCAA took away his oh-so-valuable wins and left the program he worked so hard to create and keep spotless a decimated and dirty hull of a Division I program… not unlike Kansas. Personally, I think the university should have taken it upon themselves to eliminate the football program, but that would have been too just.

    The hand-wringing over what the NCAA could do in the future is made up and flagellant.

    • Dog in Fla

      That’s totally inappropriate. It’s lewd, lascivious, salacious, outrageous!

    • Cojones

      In Sowega, we call it “Bullshit!” With gusto. Some call it “Yankee!!”, but with a wild look in their eye.

  12. Will Trane

    I can not answer about Duke, except it dealt alot within the administration and faculty plus the local DA. Having said that I think it no doubt damaged the men’s lacrosse team…players and coahces. Perhaps the NCAA should have taken some action. What? Not saying it would be stretch, but based upon the review of the NCAA requirements and PSU’s violations by Gaskill Dawg, perhaps. That was a good review Gaskill. The NCAA should have put at least a shot over the bow with a letter of reprimand or some actions.

    But I understand the Senator. What happened in the A J Green situation? That moved from punishment to a road kill. I thought UGA may have laid down there as far as a better protest. But then again UGA can not keep walking out matters each season. They add up. IE, IC. CMR and company clearly moved quickly there. No parent wants to get a calll their son has been shot accidently or otherwise.

    Hopefully this gets behind all of us and we can enjoy the season and NCAA football. That is why have the issue with the AJC…hell, they keep digging thru past sins forever…no foregiveness for them either…hell I’m a Dawg, forever.

  13. Will Trane

    Senator, please look at Pat Forde’s take re how far the NCAA may go now on possible academic fraud among the members. Jan Kemp. Hopefully, UGA will continue to perform well. That is why I like the current coaches and AD staff. And let’s see where the Trustees go for a new President. I think we have been fortunate to have had good people at UGA in the sports programs or have taken quick action otherwise, but it has been close a few times. Close may not count in the future unless the entire programs are horseshoes.

  14. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Senator: why does the bar association police its membership above and beyond the criminal justice system? Why do CPAs? And doctors?

    The NCAA is busting PSU because, from the President to the janitors, everyone who knew what was happening turned away. And here’s something to remember: Sandusky walking away from the game was huge press for PSU and Jerry. He became the football version of Mother Theresa up there, and the story even got national play: big-time coach walks away from fame and fortune to serve children (queue angelic chorus and halo). Jerry embodied the PSU Way: service above ambition. PSU and Jerry milked that story for all it was worth. I think people tend to forget that, and they tend to miss how amplified that story was in Pennsylvania.

    Could a molester ask for a better situation? Get caught molesting a child, and as a result get put in charge of PSU Football’s Child Relations Division? And I guess you could say PSU turned lemons to lemonade – transforming a potential scandal into a PR bonanza and reinforcing JoePa’s central recruiting pitch: character first.

    You cannot separate the football from this. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. The NCAA has its own warts, but that does not preclude action on their part. I liken it to an accrediting agency. They can sanction schools (such as universities) and medical facilities (such as hospitals) for patterns of conduct up to and including criminal behavior by the individuals running the show.

    I have few issues, and no major ones, with what the NCAA did here. People like to accuse supporters of allowing their distaste for PSU to cloud their judgement. I would argue that people’s distaste for the NCAA has its own effect on the judgement of those opposed.