Monday, July 23, 2012

PSU sanctions punish the innocent

ESPN TV reports:
The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning. The career record of Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records, the NCAA said.

Penn State also must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period.
Wow, that is extreme. It would make almost as much sense to punish the Univ. of Colorado for James Eagan Holmes shooting people at the Batman movie.

The NCAA statement of punishment (pdf) says:
Some coaches, administrators nad football program staff members ignored the red flags of Sandusky's behaviors and no one warned the public about him.

By not promptly and fully advising the Board of Trustees about the 1998 and 2001 child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky and the subsequent Grand Jury investigation of him, Spanier failed in his duties as President.
It also says that while "Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley provided various explanations for their deficient conduct", it was "more reasonable to conlude" that they were trying to avoid bad publicity. Among causes, it complains that:
the University maintained a culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community.
This is crazy. The main red flag was that any man is a suspect nowadays if he is dedicated to helping kids. Especially a man who writes a book about it.

It is not clear to me why the public and the trustees need to be warned about police and grand jury investigations, when those investigations were failing to find criminal evidence against an ex-employee.

The NCAA report says that his is a one-time punishment that is unlikely to ever be applied again to any other case. I think that is correct. This is a witchhunt where no one is allowed to defend the accused. In retrospect, the Trustees should have been notified of anything that would become such a disaster, but the officials did not know of any crimes. Just red flags. The PSU president agreed to this penalty, but that does not make it right. Perhaps he felt that he had to do it to avoid a harsher penalty, as he has admitted, or he wanted to justify himself replacing the previous president, or he is just a spineless tool. At any rate, the punishment is entirely directed at those who were completely innocent. Paterno is dead, and Sandusky is in prison. The current PSU students and staff had nothing to do with the allegations.

Spanier issued a letter saying:
As I have stated in the clearest possible terms, at no time during my presidency did anyone ever report to me that Jerry Sandusky was observed abusing a child or youth or engaged in a sexual act with a child or youth.
Paterno is dead now, but he testified that he never even heard a rumor that Sandusky was a child molester:
Q: Other than the incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?

A: I do not know of anything else that Jerry Sandusky would be involved in, no. I do not know of it. You did mention—I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody. I don't know. I don't remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor.
Freeh spent $6.5M investigating this claim, but found no witness or document to contradict it, except for recovered memories of McQueary that the Sandusky jury did not believe. If there really were a rumor that Sandusky was a child molester, then I would expect emails to have alluded to it.

The NCAA sanctions are not based on facts, fairness, reason, or due process. It is based on hearsay about what is "more reasonable to conlude", on lawyers and others seeking to profit from Paterno's demise, on others who are piling on, and on schadenfreude. That is a German word meaning pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

There are leftists, academics, feminists, and others who have always hated the Penn State football program for its success on and off the field. For them, the program is symbolic of the American patriarchy. They hate it when boys and men excel in a male activity like football.

Update: David Post writes:
The NCAA is ordering the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, because of the misdeeds of their agents, to set up an endowment program for preventing child sexual abuse and fund it to the tune of sixty million dollars?? And oh, by the way, taxpayers of Pennsylvania: you can take it out of lab space, computers, and teaching salaries, but YOU MAY NOT PAY THIS FINE BY REDUCING CURRENT SPENDING ON ATHLETICS! ...

Allegations of sexual misconduct with children are extremely serious and should be handled by the appropriate professionals. The football coach is not the appropriate professional and should not be actively involved–even if people think he is God. Especially if people think he is God. How can there be a fair and objective investigation if God is butting in?
So even tho the reports complain about a pro-sports culture, the sanctions require that the sports spending continue at the high levels. And I agree that Paterno did the right thing by allowing police to handle the criminal matter, and other university officials to handle university policy.

1 comment:

A K Haart said...

This punishment seems extremely vindictive rather than proportionate.
As you say, it seems to be directed at innocent people too - male people.