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
  • Despite 5th plea, Schiff says House Intelligence Committee pursues Flynn's documents
  • Facebook Live: Discuss harm of Trump budget proposal on Louisiana coastal economy, restoration
  • Governor Edwards welcomes Pence with Medicaid, budget, Louisiana coast wishlist
  • World Premiere tonight in N.O. Bilderberg, the Movie

flynn2Despite General Michael Flynn’s announcement via his counsel that the General and former head of National Security, would take the 5th Amendment in Congressional proceedings, the Intelligence Committee will pursue information, regardless.

Read More

560 usgs land loss map 2The efforts to rebuild the Louisiana coast has suffered a major and immediate setback, assuming that Congress goes along with the most recent budget proposal from President Trump.

Read More

penceToday, Governor John Bel Edwards welcomed Vice President Mike Pence to Louisiana as he Veep is attending a event with top Louisianqa Republican officials. Along with the welcome, however, is a wishlist of requests including an item of recent vinctage involving the current Trump budget which tears a hole into the funding for the Louisiana coastal restoration. 

Read More

bilderbergIt is always an honor when a movie premiere is held in New Orleans and tonight is no exception. At 7:30 p.m. Bilderberg, the Movie will premiere at the historic Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania Street.

Read More


Sen. Appel talks budget, economy


Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1