Wednesday, 25 July 2012 06:20
The NCAA Powerhouse that Paterno built destroyed by Sandusky cover-up
Written by 

Paterno-statute1A friend asked me how I felt about the NCAA's unprecedented penalties imposed on Penn State, and, to be honest, I really don't know how I feel. The question has too many aspects, and the penalties have too many effects all to be captured in one "feeling." Let me try to explain. I know I feel that some form of penalty was appropriate, although no manner of penalty could have fit such a heinous crime as Jerry Sandusky's pedophilia.


     No matter how evil or sinister the crime, efforts to cover it up are equally wrong and deserving of sanctions. Efforts to cover up Watergate brought down a President, and efforts to deny the Saints' Bountygate program earned severe penalties for those doing the covering up. Joe Paterno was proven to have known about Sandusky's offenses and covered them up, so I feel he must be penalized for it. Paterno's silence threw a pall over his accomplishments, but I feel the Penn State hierarchy may have gone overboard to separate themselves from their former coach. For example, pulling down Paterno's  statue implies offenses of the sort that prompted the same acts against Saddam Hussein or Lenin. I feel if he were the perpetrator and not Sandusky, pulling down his statue would be appropriate. As it is, it's more style than substance.

     One group who wanted the statue pulled down during Paterno's lifetime, and preferably with him underneath, was NFL scouts. Paterno developed a reputation as a righteous rebel who stressed academics and education over football, although some of my former NFL colleagues are giggling today at the fall of a man they thought was a sanctimonious hypocrite. Still, Paterno was revered by a legion of followers, which makes me feel sorry for those innocent and trusting victims.

     Former Saints player Rich Mauti was a running back for the Nittany Lions in the mid-1970's and sent his two sons, Patrick and Michael, to play for Paterno. Patrick was a walk-on wide receiver from 2005-09, and Michael is a fifth-year senior linebacker who represented players from this decade in delivering the eulogy at Paterno's funeral in February. When news of the penalties came out Monday, Rich Mauti told Ted Lewis of the Times-Picayune he was too angry and distraught to discuss the subject.

     Indeed, a $60 million penalty, loss of 20 scholarships per year and a four-year bowl prohibition will decimate the football program for years, but it also will tarnish the reputation of a respected institution. How much it will hurt enrollment or fund-raising or Penn State's standing as a research institution may not be known for a time. But those likely effects are far worse than the NCAA's additional decision to vacate every Penn State football victory during Sandusky's sordid spree. Sure, it was harsh, but it fit the crime of ignoring an evil that led to more victims being assaulted.

     Of course, those untouched by the situation will take the Leno-Letterman approach and pillory the woes of others. An old schoolmate sent me an e-mail Monday: "UK wins the Outback Bowl!" I must admit I did not know what he was talking about until he tied it to Penn State forfeiting all its football victories since 1998. Among those was their 26-14 victory over Kentucky in the January 9, 1999, bowl game. An island of mirth in a sea of mayhem.


Jim Miller's new book, "Where the Water Kept Rising," is now available in local bookstores and at his website:


Join Our Email List



Login to post comments
  • A July 4th Fact of Facts: America is Land of Immigrants
  • Poll: Trump strong on jobs, weak on tweets, viewed as reckless, thin-skinned, sexist
  • President Trump, It doesn't feel like Independence Day
  • YIPPIE! The naked truth about free speech, cherished especially on Independence Day

mass2On July 4, 1778, George Washington doubled liquor rations for the soldiers quartered in Princeton, NJ, as a way to celebrate Independence Day. It’s fitting, therefore, that the Fourth of July is America's top-selling beer holiday, according to the Beer Institute. It estimated, in 2013, that sales of beer on the 4th could total $1 billion, doubtlessly higher today. “In moderation,” claims a CA brewery investor, Grover McKean, “beer is tasty and healthy.” Who could disagree?

Read More

joe mikaAs Donald Trump faces the top world leaders this week, including a face-time with Vladimir Putin, and as his healthcare proposals face an uphill climb, his poll numbers for how the nation views him could be better.

According to a morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday morning, his tweets, including that against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, and his personality are not helping him, at all.

Read More

indy dayII know the calendar says we are approaching the 4th of July, but, it just doesn’t feel like Independence Day.

Perhaps it should.  It’s hot as heck.  The airlines have been packed. The hot dogs are ready for grilling.  The umps are saying, "play ball". The patriotic activities are scheduled. The fireworks are ready-for-blasting. 

Yet, it just doesn’t feel like independence day.

Read More

bill rights2To President Thomas Jefferson, July 4th celebrated more than the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He thought it was a link to the future. The message prominent colonists sent to King George III led to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the initial and most prominent feature of which is the First Amendment that guarantees free speech. It’s part of the country’s fundamental essence that each man and woman can say what they feel about government, or anything else, proving President Donald Trump needs some civics lessons.

Read More


Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1