Let the name of Paterno be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument of Penn St..
Let the name of Paterno be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of men for all time.
That, of course, is a modified version of the proclamation by
Seti I, Pharaoh of Egypt in the classic move, The Ten Commandments Kommissar Mark Emmert of the NCAA.
For the record, that statement included:
- $60 million in fines to be paid to the
victimsfoundation for victims of child abuse
- 4 year bowl and post season ban
- 40 scholarships over 4 years.
- Allow all transfers to play immediately
- Existing players to retain scholarships whether they play or not
- Vacate all wins from 1998-2011
- 5 year probation
- Will sanction anybody else it wants to after the criminal proceedings
- A bunch of administrative and compliance stuff related to "rebuilding the athletics culture"
The idols have been torn down. Penn St. University has been savaged over and over again by the press and every other imaginable entity for the terrible train wreck of ethical and legal violations that happened over several years to cover up serial child rape by a sexual predator. The story, zombie-like and empowered by a rapacious media that can't get enough, keeps eating at our collective brains, apparently to be unsated until it consumes our very souls.
Despite attempts by Penn St. to try to redeem the tragic events that has forever tainted the school by paying millions for an investigation into itself and firing or forcing the resignation of anybody who can be in any way associated with the scandal, the public simply will not be satisfied until every possible punishment anybody can think of has piled on the now-liquified corpse of the Penn St. football program.
It wouldn't come as a surprise to me if the Penn St.campus were walled off, Chernobyl-like, so that nobody else can be tainted by the radioactive residue of Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, who have apparently become more or less the same person in the eyes of the public after the Freeh report. The only remaining question is whether or not the press will conspire with the NCAA and the Pennsylvania legislature to order State College razed to the ground and the earth salted.
What the NCAA has done in this case is exactly similar to the elevation of Senator Palpatine to Emperor in the Star Wars series. The college presidents who run the NCAA just wanted this horror off their desks, so they have apparently thrown due process out the window, given NCAA president Mark Emmert "emergency" powers to deal with this crisis, and washed their hands of these sordid affairs. I would have only been slightly surprised to see Emmert appear in a deeply hooded cloak brandishing a red lightsaber.
Myself, I am beyond caring. This whole thing has been such an incredible train wreck that little could shock or horrify me, much as it's impossible to be shocked and horrified after watching a movie zombie eat it's fourth or fifth person alive. By that time, the blood, screams, and gore no longer affright -- the viewer has reached the point of numbness to it all. That's where I am -- numb. It is the story that cannot die, and just keeps regenerating itself. It's just a terrible thing that keeps hurting us over and over, and at some point, you just don't feel the pain anymore.
I have been mostly reluctant to write about this, since it has little to do with Kentucky, and frankly, since every other person on the planet with a blog has darkened so many pixels about it. After a while, it just feels redundant, and if all goes well from here, I won't be writing any more about it. I know I don't want to, but I do feel like I owe it to A Sea of Blue readers to provide an opportunity to weigh in on the subject, as it is clearly the sports story of the decade.
I have written my opinion on the NCAA's involvement here, and I don't intend to rehash that at all, except to say that as a frequent NCAA defender, I am appalled and shocked, if that is even possible at this point, at the failure of the organization to adhere to its normal due process. I can think of no justification for this action on the part of the NCAA, and by that I am talking about empowering their president to be judge, jury and executioner. Consider this by a former chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions and current member of the Division I Appeals Committee:
A former Committee on Infractions chairman and current Division I Appeals Committee member told ESPN.com's Andy Katz the NCAA's penalizing of an institution and program for immoral and criminal behavior also breaks new ground.
The former chair, who has been involved with the NCAA for nearly three decades, said he couldn't use his name on the record since the case could come before him and the committee he still serves on in an appeals process.
"This is unique and this kind of power has never been tested or tried," the former chair said. "It's unprecedented to have this extensive power. This has nothing to do with the purpose of the infractions process. Nevertheless, somehow (the NCAA president and executive board) have taken it on themselves to be a commissioner and to penalize a school for improper conduct."
"The purpose of the NCAA is to keep a level playing field among schools and to make sure they use proper methods through scholarships and etcetera," the chair said. "This is not a case that would normally go through the process. It has nothing to do with a level playing field. It has nothing to do with whether Penn State gets advantages over other schools in recruiting or in the number of coaches or things that we normally deal with."
"The real question is whether or not under the overall rules and regulations of the NCAA do those in charge take action when it doesn't fall within the scope and realm of the normal infractions process," the former chair said. "This has nothing to do with a level playing field or competition. The NCAA is a voluntary organization and the schools sign on to be bound by the NCAA rules and regulations."
I am not surprised, but I am disappointed, to see the NCAA involved at all, and deeply dismayed to see them do it the way they did. Perhaps Greg Edwards and others and others here who have opined that the NCAA should be disbanded are right after all. This move may, just like in Star Wars, create the rebellion that brings the NCAA empire crashing down.
NCAA involvement was inevitable despite my concerns, and the public and media outcry for ever more punishment to be heaped upon Penn St. will continue unabated, even after this, and that's reflected in the NCAA's assurance that they will continue to punish anyone who appears on their radar in this matter. The zombie army of revenge marches on, unaware that it has eaten almost everything there is to eat. At some point it will drop dead of starvation, but as long as there is anyone around who can plausibly be blamed or associated with the terrible scandal, they will be. You'll be hearing about people here and there who were somehow associated with one of the players in this tragedy being accused of complicity and ostracized, or worse.
Don't let the fact that Penn St. agreed with the NCAA that this was okay confuse you. Penn St. had no choice at all but to agree. If they hadn't agreed, the NCAA simply would have done much worse. The NCAA, having abdicated its traditional process, apparently with the agreement of most of its membership, simply had all the cards. Theoretically, they could have just thrown Penn St. out of the NCAA altogether.
Also, don't be seduced by the claims of the Executive Committee president of always having had the power to do this. I suspect that isn't so, but it will be examined more closely in the fullness of time. It is normal for people assuming power that they don't have to assure us they have a right to it, just as the NCAA has assured us they have a right to ignore their normal procedures.
There are still many witches to burn, much salt to be spread, and many radiation suits to be handed out. Who knows, maybe we'll even convene a Constitutional Convention and revoke Pennsylvania's statehood next, or empower the President to do it.
At this point, everything seems to be on the table.