NCAA Vacating Joe Paterno’s Wins Wrong; PSU Penalties Right
Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in NCAA Division I Football history after penalties against Penn State University vacated 111 wins by JoePa from 1998 to 2011.
By vacating all wins by Penn State University’s football team from 1998 to 2011, Joe Paterno’s historic career is effectively reduced to a fairly pedestrian 298 wins. Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in NCAA Football history, nor the legendary figure that built Penn State University. The NCAA clearly overstepped the scope of their power by implementing these penalties, turning tragedy and controversy into a personal vendetta against Joe Paterno in an effort to remove him from the history books and end his legacy as a Penn State football hero. The NCAA blames the idolization of Joe Paterno for the cover up of Jerry Sandusky pedophilia and took exaggerated measures to reduce the legend of Joe Paterno in an unfair way. No penalty to Penn State football can bring more justice than the impending criminal proceedings, but posthumously removing Paterno’s wins seems deliberate and strange.
Assuming the highly controversial assumptions and findings in the Freeh Report, commissioned by Penn State and utilized by the NCAA as a benchmark for creating their violations prove true, the NCAA still links immorality to sports validity in an unprecedented and inexplicable fashion. In no way did the Jerry Sandusky scandal affect the eligibility of the players at Penn State or the outcomes of any games. Penn State football did not violate laws that would allow the NCAA to change the outcome of the games from 1998 – 2011. Essentially, the NCAA attacked Paterno and ensured that he would be wiped from the history books in order to send a message.
Penn State football is obviously not more important than what Jerry Sandusky did. The victims should remain the foremost consideration in all things related to this sex scandal. Still, I fail to see the link between the outcome of college football games and the cover up of this horrible series of sex crimes.
The sanctions placed on Penn State are an important step for the credibility of the NCAA going forward. Instead of excommunicating 20-year-old kids because they sell their championship rings for tattoos, the NCAA finally proved they are capable of handling serious issues. Penn State will suffer financially because of an unprecedented 60 million dollar fine, and the program will struggle after losing scholarships and bowl eligibility for the next four years. Punishing a program for losing control makes sense and is within a loose interpretation of NCAA bylaws moving forward. However, changing the course of history to belittle the legacy of a legendary coach seems like a stretch.
Expect the Paterno family to pursue legal action to continue to fight to restore the legacy of Joe Paterno. The NCAA should not have the authority to change the outcome of games when no instance of eligibility was violated. The games occurred in a legal fashion and Penn State won those games with players that were eligible to be on the field. I fail to understand the grounds under which Joe Paterno’s wins are vacated. The NCAA no longer wanted the controversy surrounding Joe Paterno to have the glory of sitting atop the record books. They devastated the Penn State football program and attacked Joe Paterno by circumventing their own rules.
Essentially, removing Joe Paterno’s record-setting wins are an attempt to erase the controversy surrounding a prestigious honor. It is akin to taking away 1,000 of Pete Rose’s hits because he bet on baseball. It would similar to removing Phil Simms’ Super Bowl win because he knew Lawrence Taylor was on drugs and didn’t tell anyone. The Red Sox never won the World Series because Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz did steroids. Penn State never won 111 games from 1998 to 2011 because a former coach raped little boys.
As predicted, I’m betting nobody cares about Joe Paterno’s statue being removed yesterday morning after these severe penalties were levied.
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