Re: Aftermath

1

I sucked my breath in at taking away JoePa's post-1998 wins. Money and bowl games, eh, that all seems reasonable. But I was in a PSU football household (oh, a mild one, but Buck was definitely feeling it) when JoePa moved past Bear Bryant for most college football wins ever, and rolling that back is huge.

On thinking about it, it's not disproportionate. But that did take me aback.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:31 PM
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Wow. Wow. Boom.

Okay, yeah, appropriate as a deterrent and incentive for others to clean up and take care.

Apparently, though Penn State is not quite the "tip of the iceberg" there is more of this going on around the country. And there must be zero.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:33 PM
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The technique does suggest a very fast and easy way to solve the global warming problem, doesn't it?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:34 PM
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While we're at it, we can fix up the Armenian & Jewish stuff, and the Amerindians and Aztecs, and so on. Doubleplusgood!


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:37 PM
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It moves Paterno from #1 to #13 on the all-time wins list, for whatever that means.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:40 PM
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I think anything that moved him out of the #1 position would have the same impact. It's completely deserved, I was just surprised that I found it shocking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:46 PM
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Every time I hear some PSU football fan whine about how unfair the whole thing is, it makes me think that the only appropriate punishment would be to raze the entire school and salt the earth where it stands.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:48 PM
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While we're at it, we can fix up the Armenian & Jewish stuff, and the Amerindians and Aztecs, and so on. Doubleplusgood!

Are you in an odd mood today? Between this and your comments in the other thread you seem to be inclined towards gallows humor.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:48 PM
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Point:Jerry Sandusky, one of the best defensive coordinators in college history, retired from Penn State at age 55 (!?) and did not, as far as we know, receive a single job offer. I think the whole national CF community knew and kept silent.

As far as I am concerned, in addition to what is already announced, they can shut down college football for a year.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:51 PM
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the only appropriate punishment would be to raze the entire school and salt the earth where it stands

As an alum, I support this plan.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:51 PM
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Taking away wins seems more appropriate when cheating is involved. It's as if they've assumed molestation confers an advantage.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:54 PM
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I'd think the thinking was that if a decent school knew what Paterno had done, they would have fired him, so he wouldn't have kept on racking up wins. (This is complicated by the fact that PSU was not, in this regard, a decent school, and they did know everything he knew. But something like that.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:57 PM
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During the time period that Sandusky was being investigated by the Office of the Attorney General, investigators served subpoenas on the Second Mile to get records of boys who had been through the program as well as Sandusky's travel and expense records. As it turned out, the records from 2000 to 2003 were missing. Record keepers later found files for one year, but the records for the other three years were never found.[28]

Christ, Sandusky coached since 1969, and was first suspected in 1994. I'm guessing 25 more years of victims. And Jesus, in the 80s I bet he showed up with ten-year-olds allowed on the sidelines. We need a real investigation of thirty years back, with a massive reward fund and anonymity to incentivize people to come forth.

I think there is a ring, or a community*, of child-molesting football coaches around the country, and the punishment was so severe in order to send a message. I suspect we will in a very few years learn that the NCAA response was a woefully inadequate attempt at limiting damage.

*assistant coaches? Catholic Universities?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:02 PM
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But he did rack up those wins. Now we (or at least those people who will think about this ever again, a group which does not include me) have to pretend he didn't.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:02 PM
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In another thread, I had asked about how this affects old bets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:05 PM
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The punishment offends my inner sports purist in a way the crime never did.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:05 PM
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8: Gallows/mordant humor runs strongly in the family, I'm just in the mood to let it off the leash for a little exercise, that's all.

The canceling of the wins strikes me as making as much sense as punishing the Turks, Nazis, et al. by reducing their atrocity numbers by 99.9% or so. When Nanking results in 300 dead and the Holocaust in 6000, the Japanese and Germans are going to feel ashamed.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:21 PM
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17: Did anyone else see the Americans For The Arts piece about the fighting/destruction in Timbuktu today? It was really fucking weird.

Imagine if you can, a nation divided. Not the way in which our nation is divided now, on bad blood and stacks of cash, on greed and celebrity; imagine a nation where there is one group dominant, not the "one percent," but the only percent.
Imagine a group of people who make no apologies for desecrating your history, who revel in the destruction of your identity. Envision then, the sense of helplessness, the horror as you watch them dismantle the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, The Alamo, Ground Zero, as they set fire to Yosemite, set off a blast that decimates the Grand Canyon. Imagine the faces of Mount Rushmore, fractured then tumbling, the Hoover Dam drained; imagine the breaking of the Berlin Wall in reverse.

Huh, you mean, like Israel?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:43 PM
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18.last: You really need to throw in a reference to cat declawing and/or circumcision to get the fight rolling.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:50 PM
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Imagine the faces of Mount Rushmore, fractured then tumbling, the Hoover Dam drained...
I do this when I need a pick-me-up.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:57 PM
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Personally I don't really like this as a penalty. It is on the one hand too harsh & hurts people who were very distant from the crime & on the other hand it isn't hard enough on the people who were actually guilty.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 3:59 PM
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20: And then there's the lamentations of their wimmens. Let's not forget that part.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:07 PM
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21: Many of the actual guilty are at some risk of prosecution.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:10 PM
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21: Then let's prosecute the prosecutable, fire others, get rid of incentives to hide stuff, and like that. Changing the record books is pure stupid feel-good bullshit.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:13 PM
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The punishment only really makes sense to me if I think about it as a deterrent. Which seems like an okay way to think about it.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:14 PM
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I agree.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:16 PM
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24 --- exactly.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:21 PM
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28

For those who think they got off light, it might help to remember that the $60 million is the first of several big checks that PSU will likely be writing in the near future. Also, right now I'll be surprised if Spanier and Curley avoid prison time, although maybe I'm being too optimistic.

Jerry Sandusky, one of the best defensive coordinators in college history, retired from Penn State at age 55 (!?) and did not, as far as we know, receive a single job offer. I think the whole national CF community knew and kept silent.

I've heard various theories about this. Honestly, I don't think PSU insiders would have had to release any real details to poison Sandusky's future in college football. An off the record word - "Listen, Sandusky's trouble. I don't mean a few DUIs swept under the rug, I mean trouble." - would likely have been enough if it can from the right source.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:21 PM
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21, 24

Yes, and yes. This punishment is just to make everyone feel better about themselves. A modern-day equivalent of putting the entire school and all their alumni in stocks in the center of town. We caught the baddies and made them pay and now we don't have to think about whatever else might still be happening out there.

I'd be much happier with Spanier, Sandusky, Schultz, and Cooley in jail. And throw the corpse of Paterno in there with them for good measure.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:24 PM
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Then let's prosecute the prosecutable, fire others, get rid of incentives to hide stuff, and like that.

But that's out of the control of the NCAA isn't it?

Is the NCAA punishment connected in any way to the criminal proceedings or is it separate and additional?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:29 PM
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Prosecution is outwith the NCAA's power. The others are within.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:31 PM
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In terms of penalties, these are about all the types of punishments the NCAA has available, except for shutting a program down ("the death penalty"). A lot of memorable sports events never happened, like Chris Webber's infamous timeout call since it later turned out that Michigan never went to the Final Four that year.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:41 PM
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In other words, the NCAA has to do something, but it's not really set up to deal with this kind of crime.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:43 PM
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It irks me beyond belief that I agree with David Brooks about most people's reaction to the scandal.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:43 PM
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33 --- maybe setting itself up to deal with this type of crime would be the right response then, rather than mucking around with statistics?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:45 PM
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36

It's as if they've assumed molestation confers an advantage.

The molestation didn't, but the looking-the-other-way did. I'm no football expert, not by a long shot, but everything I read emphasizes how good Sandusky was as a defensive coordinator. By not referring the matter to the cops and/or firing him the moment the allegations came to their attention, Paterno and Penn State continued to win games, some of which they arguably would not have won with a defensive coordinator of lesser ability. Of course, no one can say how many fewer games they would have won, if any, but the fact is that winning games was a higher priority for them than the well-being of innocent kids. If that doesn't fit the definition of unsportsman-like conduct, I don't know what does.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:49 PM
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37

The NCAA should build and staff a prison?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:49 PM
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37 to 35.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:50 PM
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37 -- no the NCAA should pursue a culture change in college athletics aimed at eliminating what appears to be a a pervasive rape culture.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:50 PM
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40

I'm frankly kind of surprised the investigation of the administration's role has been reacted to so thoroughly. I thought we had reached the point where everyone powerful involved was waiting for things to die down and would not be receptive to new information.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:51 PM
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MAE gets it right. The punishment essentially says: you don't get those past wins, which were apparently so important to you that you looked the other way regarding Sandusky. It also sharply corrects the notion that a university has any business prioritizing athletics over academics (not to mention the welfare of minors).

I'm afraid I just can't manage to become exercised about the mucking about with statistics.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 4:57 PM
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39: Taking people's places from the record books and greatly reducing that teams ability to compete in the future seem like good ways to start doing that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:16 PM
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43

Taking away the wins is apparently terrible punishment for the kind of fans who rioted when Paterno was fired. So, you know, that's satisfying.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:20 PM
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I don't think they are though, because I think that they will be the end and the NCAA will tend to stop there. It's a ritualised expulsion of impurity.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:21 PM
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Taken together, 36 and 43 work to persuade the kind and mean parts of me of the rightness of the punishment.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:35 PM
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36: But didn't Sandusky retire in 1998 -- the year the victory wipe starts?

I actually have no problem with the punishment, but Sandusky wasn't, I think, affording the football team any advantage in those years.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:40 PM
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Where are these "record books"? What's going to actually change? Are broadcasters going to have to forget the old stats? Will Google be scrubbed? I don't see how this particular action does anything at all. Taking money away does, keeping them from the bowls does, other actions might.

(Can't say I'm particularly worked up about this
case specifically except for the 451 & 1984ish aspects. IMO facts should stay facts unless there's new data.)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:44 PM
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You have to weigh the satisfaction of pissing off Penn State fans with the realization that there will now be an uncountable number of petulant arguments in bars and trivia contests.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:53 PM
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Biohazard has the right. This is typical feel-good liberalism: extending the domain of previously agreed upon norms in an attempt to right some wrong in a way that is ultimately ineffectual and undermines the legitimacy of the governing body.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:56 PM
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undermines the legitimacy of the governing body

Wait, the NCAA has legitimacy?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:59 PM
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47: I assume the NCAA keeps books. Sportswriters and the like will, when writing about this stuff, probably have to say things like, "Penn State won that game but had its victory vacated for running a corrupt program" or something like that. Seems reasonable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:03 PM
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A friend of mine suggested a five-year ban on spectators at home games.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:03 PM
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46: It does seem that he retired after the 1998 season. Pesky facts, getting in the way of a good argument.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:12 PM
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I'm no football expert, not by a long shot, but everything I read emphasizes how good Sandusky was as a defensive coordinator. By not referring the matter to the cops and/or firing him the moment the allegations came to their attention, Paterno and Penn State continued to win games, some of which they arguably would not have won with a defensive coordinator of lesser ability.

No, that's not right. The first allegations came to Paterno's attention in May 1998, and Sandusky left his job at the end of the 1999 season. After that he had access to the facilities as a sort of coach emeritus and widely beloved leader of an athletic-related charity, but didn't play any role in coaching.

Apparently, though Penn State is not quite the "tip of the iceberg" there is more of this going on around the country. And there must be zero.

Sure, similar revelations came out about Syracuse basketball shortly after the Sandusky indictment. The coach in question was fired but all the incidents were more than 10 years ago so there's no legal proceedings and the NCAA doesn't seem to be interested.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:13 PM
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Counter to 47 and 49, I'd argue that the outrage of some Penn State fans at the supposed injustice of the retroactive taking away of the wins indicates that it is neither meaningless nor ineffectual.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:14 PM
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Paterno is, by far, the one coach whose legacy is most altered by simple taking the "wins" statistic and subtracting a few dozen from it. Even his most ardent admirers knew he was basically a figurehead since about 2002. He and fellow figurehead Bobby Bowden competed to have the most wins for decades, and he won. Now, he lost. If "most wins by a college coach" had been an utterly unbreakable record he might have retired after the 1997 Fiesta Bowl and let Sandusky take over. Although I guess he died thinking he beat Bowden.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:24 PM
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56: At least he died?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:28 PM
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I'd argue that considering the risks and penalties kiddie-fuckers already face to satisfy their urges, record books are not high up there, nor will they be to anyone who decides not to see what they should be seeing. But enough, this horse is well beyond beating and far into maggot banquet.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:28 PM
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The deterrent seems to me more aimed at non-kiddie-fucker cow-orkors and staff. Turn the kiddie-fuckers in or you'll lose your institutional prestige!


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:31 PM
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I wonder what this presages for the Griz situation.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:36 PM
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59: Exactly. I'm just agreeing with E. Messily on this thread. Obviously, the loss of scholarships and post-season play gets to the prestige factor also, but this says even your "stored prestige" isn't safe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:40 PM
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58: It's not about providing incentives for the kiddie-fuckers, it's a threat to people who are going to sweep it under the rug for the benefit of the football program. The intended message is "Don't bother with the coverup, if it ever comes out we'll screw your program over retroactively."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 6:55 PM
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This whole thing just upsets me.

I get that some people like sports. Fine. That these weird acts of contrition are being required of a public educational institution because they prioritized fucking football celebrity crap over kids makes me want to join another species.


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:19 PM
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Where does the $60 million come from? Can they pump money into the football program and cut back on financial aid or academic scholarships? That would suck.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:36 PM
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Just like the best way to hurt rich people is to turn them into poor people, the best way to hurt a culture malignantly obsessed with winning is to take away its winning record. The sanctions hit Penn State exactly where it hurt, and where they knew it would hurt, the most: their winning legacy, and their future ability to produce victory on the field. Seems entirely appropriate to me. The wins were what your sick subculture sacrificed these kids for: ergo, you can't have them.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:38 PM
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The institution protected a rapist for football; I see no reason the institution should have football any longer.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:50 PM
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The wins were what your sick subculture sacrificed these kids for: ergo, you can't have them.

This.

Also, 'perps go to prison' (= criminal justice system) and 'sanctions imposed against the school' (= college sports governing body) are not mutually exclusive outcomes.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:51 PM
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I don't give a shit about the Penn State football program or its fans, but I hate seeing the NCAA in a position to preen about "integrity" and "morals" and those other abstract nouns it sold off decades ago.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:51 PM
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52: also good. 4 yrs should do it though. Combined with the loss of scholarships. Zombie penalty, not death penalty.

I bet the 60m never happens. Surely theyll be able to arbitrate or something. I worry like Bostoniangirl.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:53 PM
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1: when JoePa moved past Bear Bryant for most college football wins ever, and rolling that back is huge.

Yes, As others have said this really does go right to the heart of what Paterno seemed to think he was accomplishing. Here in bubble land (although a significant chunk of the alums I know have slowly begun to see what this all looks like from the outside), many people are shocked by my suggestion that Paterno certainly should have retired after 1998. As if the man were not 72 years old at the time.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:53 PM
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68: By contrast, I'm fine with seeing the NCAA finally compelled to stand up for those very abstract nouns it sold off decades ago.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:01 PM
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Justice for some; miniature NCAA pennant flags for others.


Posted by: Kang | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:07 PM
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And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards fair play.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:25 PM
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You have to vote for one of us.


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 10:09 PM
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It irks me beyond belief that I agree with David Brooks about most people's reaction to the scandal.

I for one am quite comfortable feeling superior to some fuckstick who couldn't find it in himself to intervene when he happened across an old man anally raping a 10 year old.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:05 PM
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Last time this came up, and the Brooksian reaction was mooted, my take was exactly the same as gswift's in 75, and that hasn't changed. Fuck a bunch of 'we're all craven cowards, and you are deluding yourself if you think you'd have been any different'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:41 PM
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The New Yorker's perspective (sorry, too lazy to do HTML on the phone):
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2012/07/punishing-penn-state-sandusky-scandal.html


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:54 PM
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64: Not according to the rules of the punishment. Can't even come from "non-revenue" sports. The trick, of course, will be how to enforce it and keep them from fudging the accounting.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-24-12 12:01 AM
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I mean, I am possibly pretty prejudiced about the whole thing, but for me the central problem is the whole rape culture thing, and I don't think that the NCAA actually gives a fuck about the rape of women, or the persistent homophobia of college athletics, or anything that would actually be painful for them to deal with. So instead there's this pseudo-repentance.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-24-12 1:58 AM
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Fuck a bunch of 'we're all craven cowards, and you are deluding yourself if you think you'd have been any different'.

Actually, I think it's reasonable to reflect on the ways that we (for many values of "we") are capable of looking the other way. The thing that makes Brooks's perspective so Brooksian is that he'd like to use this as an excuse to let the malefactors off the hook.

Commentators ruthlessly vilify all involved from the island of their own innocence. Everyone gets to proudly ask: "How could they have let this happen?"
The proper question is: How can we ourselves overcome our natural tendency to evade and self-deceive.

No, the proper question is: What are we (the NCAA, law enforcement and the public at-large) going to do about this? Brooks's answer seems to be that we should all ponder our own shortcomings. Amazingly, Brooks goes on to suggest other cases where finger-pointing isn't appropriate:

That was the proper question after Abu Ghraib, Madoff, the Wall Street follies and a thousand other scandals.

Who killed the Kennedys? Not you or me. And we sure as fuck didn't bilk Madoff's investors.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-24-12 4:54 AM
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but for me the central problem is the whole rape culture thing, and I don't think that the NCAA actually gives a fuck about the rape of women, or the persistent homophobia of college athletics, or anything that would actually be painful for them to deal with.

But they've taken a fairly bold stand against the rape of little boys. That's progress! Yes, it would be nice if the NCAA weren't thoroughly rotten, but for once they did something with a passing resemblance to the right thing.

Sure, if they'd killed Penn State football, that wouldn't have been unjust, but that also wouldn't have addressed rape culture, homophobia, etc.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-24-12 5:01 AM
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the central problem is the whole rape culture thing, and I don't think that the NCAA actually gives a fuck about the rape of women

This. When forced to make a decision under stress, you do what you practice. Big time college athletics has practiced sweeping sexual assault under the rug for decades.

Probably they were shocked when faced with Sandusky's crimes, but they defaulted to what they knew: conceal, deny, business as usual.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-24-12 5:04 AM
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Berube's take from last year. I imagine his position hasn't changed much.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-24-12 7:48 AM
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This whole thing is a witch hunt. It's not entirely clear how much the higher-ups, including Paterno, knew about what was going on at the time. But society can't tolerate ambiguity, so off with their heads.


Posted by: Elsk | Link to this comment | 07-25-12 8:07 AM
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Love it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-25-12 8:09 AM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/opinion/penn-states-vacated-victories.html?_r=1


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-25-12 5:45 PM
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