- The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is infamous (at least in my opinion) for the mildness of its penalties against "football" and basketball programs that are amateur in hardly any respect save name, but that (mis)governing body has handed down against the Pennsyvlania State University a punishment of a severity scarcely heard of since the end of the Gulag: a $60 million fine, a minimum-four-year bowl ban, and, perhaps most astonishingly, the forfeiture of all victories won under Paterno during a span of 14 years! I don't deny that university officials deserve punishment if they indeed covered up criminal behavior by Sandusky, but that punishment ought to be administered by those whom society has charged with meting it out, viz., the courts. The NCAA has jurisdiction, so to speak, only over infractions that directly affect the playing of intercollegiate sports; if a team obtains an unfair advantage over opponents not in violation of the rules, by, for instance, paying players to sign with them instead of with someone else, the NCAA may penalize that team with sanctions and perhaps require the team to forfeit wins in games in which they used the player or players whom they recruited in that illegal fashion. What happened at PSU, by contrast, had no effect on the Nittany Lions' performance on the gridiron. Why, then, has the NCAA acted as it has? Obviously, it's grandstanding on what the media call by the inadequate umbrella term "sex abuse".
- It's ironic that the university entrusted investigation of its scandal to a firm run by Louis Freeh, who, as Clinton's FBI director, was a member of the most scandal-ridden presidential administration in US history. Specifically regarding Freeh, it ought to be remembered that it was during his tenure both that the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco occurred and that the agency manufactured evidence against Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. None of this actually refutes the findings in Freeh's report, but it does mean that there's reason to doubt the accuracy thereof. (Freeh does not enhance his credibility by concluding that the curt dismissal of Paterno [v.i.] was justified, even though that dismissal took place long before his investigation implicated the late head coach in any wrongdoing.)
- Despite the source of the report mentioned above, I can accept all its allegations except those against Paterno. To me, it's beyond belief that someone who, as I've stated before, was known for decades to be one of the most ethical of all public figures would actively participate in the concealment of pederasty. If the accusation against him should turn out to be valid, then I would consider it valuable for all of us to have a psychologist explain how somebody could have gone so wrong.
- Finally, what could be worse than the pederasty itself is the effect that I fear the scandal, particularly the reputed involvement of Paterno, may have upon the "college football" world. Paterno was a rare paragon in a game that has long been rife with shameful (and shameless) exploitation of student-athletes, cheating both covert and overt, run-ups of the score in games that ought never to have been scheduled, egotistical displays intended to humiliate the opposing team, &c.; now that someone of his near-saintly reputation has fallen from grace, cynicism could increase drastically, leading in turn to even more bad behavior.
24 July 2012
Here are yet more thoughts on the scandal at the Pennsyvlania State University: