Mark Emmert, Penn State and reaping what you sow

Andy Staples asks a pertinent question.

Every time something new surfaces in the Baylor scandal, a question follows. Where is the NCAA? Another question typically follows that one. When is Baylor getting the death penalty?

The answer shouldn’t surprise anyone.  (At least it doesn’t surprise me.)

This explanation will prompt another question. But what about Penn State? The answer is NCAA president Mark Emmert screwed up with Penn State in 2012. Led by Emmert, the NCAA sidestepped its normal disciplinary process to hammer Penn State’s football program with sanctions following the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Emmert caved to public outcry without considering whether his organization’s own rules even allowed the punishment. Spoiler alert: They probably didn’t. After Pennsylvania’s treasurer and representatives of Joe Paterno’s estate sued, the NCAA wound up walking back the penalties, and the organization was further embarrassed when Oregon State president Ed Ray, the chair of the committee that issued the penalties, admitted he couldn’t even be bothered to read the Freeh Report, the investigation upon which the sanctions were based, while on vacation.

So that’s why the NCAA won’t hammer the Baylor football program for acts far more heinous than people (allegedly) giving people money for being good at football at Ole Miss or people (allegedly) creating fake classes so some athletes could keep playing sports at North Carolina. The NCAA, an organization made up of universities with rules made by the universities, is not equipped to handle things that matter far more than the trifles it typically polices.

Which brings us to the most important question: Why isn’t it?

Because the schools are only so moronic.

The schools, which once banned cream cheese for bagels, had a chance after the Penn State debacle to alter the NCAA’s rules to allow the organization to take on more serious matters. They could have added language to their Unethical Conduct bylaw—their catch-all rule—that would have made athletic department employees who failed to report an allegation of violence (sexual or otherwise) against another person by anyone under their purview guilty of a violation. The schools could have added language that any program that benefitted from such a cover-up can be hit with further sanctions. Such changes, which could have been made within a year or two of the Penn State mistake, might have allowed for NCAA sanctions in the Baylor case* depending on the timeline.

*The NCAA could conceivably punish Baylor for violations of recruiting or extra benefit rules. There certainly were plenty of accusations on those fronts during the Briles era, but nothing has been proven at this point. When one Baylor basketball player murdered another in 2003 and coach Dave Bliss told his players to lie about the dead player, the NCAA did punish the program. Not for the truly awful stuff, but because Bliss was paying two players—including murder victim Patrick Dennehy—to act as walk-ons to get around NCAA scholarship limits.

But the leaders of the schools chose not to give the NCAA that power. Why? Perhaps they didn’t want the NCAA’s occasionally inept enforcement department messing around in cases far more important in the grand scheme than whether a coach made too many phone calls to a recruit. Perhaps they felt the existing state and federal laws were enough. Perhaps they feared the next scandal would pop up at their school and didn’t want to give the NCAA the option to gut a cash cow football program.

Or perhaps they didn’t want to give Mark Emmert a new framework from which to overstep his boundaries.

I warned at the time that Emmert was engaged in a disastrous ends justify the means mindset, and that ignoring established guidelines because it felt good in the moment would eventually come back to bite him and the NCAA in the ass.  Well, here we are.

As a bastion of moral superiority, the NCAA looks bad in hindsight in its dealings with Penn State and looks bad with its present inaction regarding Baylor.  Well played, Mark.



Filed under The NCAA

31 responses to “Mark Emmert, Penn State and reaping what you sow

  1. Why do I get the feeling that these guys in charge at the NCAA are far more appalled by, and can more strongly empathize with, young boys being molested than by college aged women being raped?

    If we were talking about 11 year old boys being gang raped, would Baylor be in anyone’s schedule in 2017? I’m skeptical.


    • Russ

      Agreed. There seems to be a strong undercurrent of “she was asking for it” when you hear these assholes talk.


    • Hogbody Spradlin

      In lots of organizations I’d agree with that, but the NCAA is well populated with (make and female) college administrator types, who are exquisitely attuned to the women’s side of things. If they’re less interested in Baylor than Penn state, it might be because they handled Penn state poorly and are more circumspect.


      • Gaskilldawg

        What is the difference between “the women’s side of things” about rape of women and “the men’s side of things ” about rape of boys?


        • Hogbody Spradlin

          Well, that’s my point. With NCAA types, the reason lies elsewhere than ‘crimes on women are less appalling’.


          • Macallanlover

            Sorry, I understand the direction of the thinking but there is significant difference between the vulnerability, and responsibility, of a college age female at a party (drinking most likely), and an underage male on a college campus taking a shower. Doesn’t mean that the female deserved it at all, but is obvious which one gets the most sympathy from those discussing it.. And it has nothing to do with gender. Reverse the situation and the female would get the most sympathy, or fuel the most outrage. It isn’t a PC issue, it is common sense. When State Penn didn’t get the Death Penalty, then backed the NCAA down, you just knew there was no death penalty offense going forward.


  2. JG Shellnutt

    One thing that I think I remember about the Penn State overstep, is that Penn State agreed to the punishment. They agreed to the levied penalty. As I recall, I think they agreed to the penalty that was levied so as to avoid the death penalty. But then later it came out that the NCAA had lied or exaggerated about what all bad information / facts it had against Penn State. So, even though Emmert went outside his normal scope and process, most of the public was behind it…even Penn State agreed to it. The backtracking began when it came out that there had been lies or exaggerations about all of the known facts of the case.


    • Cojones

      Uh, excuse me, but when there is a plow job going on concerning the NCAA we would appreciate not hearing the facts. If we are going to get everyone aroused over every stubbed toe and sidewalk spit they make, we need to stick with the insinuations. We can all later stew over the facts, but the insinuations are never to be forgotten.


  3. JarvisCrowell

    Does anyone know where I can get a job like these NCAA clowns. I’d really enjoy getting paid multiple millions for being incompetent and constantly making my organization look bad. Not to mention some great seats at games.


  4. Agreed on all points, and I believe there should be some exceptionally harsh strikes against Baylor; death penalty included as a possibility. But perhaps Baylor, and the NCAAssholes, have by their inaction caused an effect of avoidance. I have read countless posts, both here and other boards, from parents that have had the decision made that their child would not attend Baylor. More specifically from fathers with daughters. The Baylor football program will lose all buoyancy fall to the bottom of the relevance pool, maybe not even returning to mediocrity for years.
    Maybe Shakespears words for the queen say it best…
    “give me my robe. put on my crown”


  5. Uglydawg

    They do a hell of a good job at policing players selling their jerseys or signing autographs, though. If anyone at UGA ever cooperates with these buffoons again, they should be tarred and feathered.
    But I can see some wisdom in standing down and letting law enforcement agencies handle the big and really bad stuff. The NCAA trying to run a parallel investigation would be disruptive, confusing and redundant. It could possibly become a courtroom defense strategy..that the NCAA influenced, caused prejudice, or undo stress that affected testimony, etc..
    also, that the NCAA reached differing conclusions than law enforcement investigations.
    Baylor and PSU should have both gotten the death penalty…but the death penalty should come with an iron clad rule that innocent athletes whose whole life will be changed by the penalty be monetarily (heavily so) compensated, given help and compensation if they wish to transfer to another school, and be allowed to participate immediately at the new school.


  6. David K

    The University of Baylor should shut down the program. In a perfect world it’s not the NCAA’s decision. If the school had any backbone and didn’t depend on TV cash, they’d realize the monster that is their football program and they’d shitcan the whole thing for a few years and then start over.


  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    Back in the days of “Probation, a Clemson Tradition”, of Florida having their first SEC title stripped, of Jan Kemp, and of SMU, the problems were things the NCAA could handle: recruiting violations, grade pumping, palm greasing. I’m cynical enough to believe that girls. and boys, were getting violated in the 70’s and 80’s, so why all the attention now? I’m not saying the attention is bad, just why? There had to be some serious rug sweeping going on for decades.

    Whatever the cause, the NCAA just isn’t equipped to handle the Penn State and Baylor situations. It was a nice organization when all it had to police were coaches making 200k a year and the money issues were measured in hundred dollar bills.

    I’m sure there’s more than a correlation between college football swimming in money and the more shocking revelations we see these days, and I’m sure the dynamics would be pretty obvious if someone could put it into words.


  8. Russ

    I’ve asked before, why aren’t these scumbags going to jail for covering up crimes?


  9. AusDawg85

    Until the NCAA can fully extinguish the scourge of excessive celebration and $100 autographs, they really don’t have time for this sh*t.


  10. 3rdandGrantham

    More so, many PSU fans/alums — including friends/family of mine — have essentially treated the NCAA’s sheer incompetence as some sort of vindication for their past misdeeds.

    In other words, PSU types now feel emboldened given the NCAA walked back the penalties and left town with egg on their face, in which even some are now acting as if they did nothing wrong as a result. It would be like a criminal being caught on tape viciously mugging an old lady, but in court his case was thrown out due to some technicality. Soon after the same criminal is shown laughing about the whole ordeal while proclaiming his innocence — after all, he wasn’t convicted, thus in the end he did nothing wrong. That’s basically the mentality many PSU types harbor as a result of the NCAA being a total mess.


  11. I read it as ‘raping what you sowing.’ Word association, I guess.


  12. DawgPhan

    Seems like the easiest thing to do would be for the federal government to use the title IX stuff to withdraw support for federal student loans from Baylor students and stop any federal research grants money from flowing.

    I suspect that might get the attention of Baylor.


    • Uglydawg

      That would be punishing a lot of people that are just there trying to get an education..there really are some. I know kids that went to UGA and never went to a sporting event…would it have been fair to punish the for something athletes did? The Baylor administration and anyone connected to the horrible events need to be punished.


      • Gaskilldawg

        If Baylor chooses the football program over its regular students ‘ access to loans then blame the Baylor administration rather than the Feds.


  13. DoubleDawg1318

    I was absolutely against the NCAA action against PSU due to their lack of jurisdiction. I wouldn’t mind if they reformed their bylaws to allow them to punish schools that act like this but I also am okay with them leaving this to law enforcement. I just hope Art, Ken, and Co. go to jail over this. If it were me, I’d go all William T. Sherman on the place.


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