Sunday, July 15, 2012

Delusion and Naïveté About the Football Program at Penn State

Incredible – Some Commentators Actually Believe the Program Might be Shut Down by the School or NCAA

It is extremely difficult to think or write about the child sexual abuse at Penn State without the need to throw up or take a shower or both.  Now that the Freeh report has been issue, now that it is fully documented what the University did and did not do that allowed an assistant football coach  to sexually assault children on its campus and other places some are speculating whether or not the football program will be terminated on a temporary basis.

In the Washington Post sports columnist Jason Reid has this position.

The NCAA’s 444-page manual contains no language directly addressing appopriate punishment for concealing information regarding child sexual abuse. But in light of the shameful conduct of Penn State’s leadership, revealed Thursday in the Freeh report, the NCAA must use its authority to do what’s needed now: Shut down the Nittany Lions football program.

And in the New York Times there is this report on possible actions the NCAA might take.

In the wake of a scathing report blaming university officials and the late football legend Joe Paterno for concealing allegations of sex abuse, the question is what does Penn State do to repair its image? Embrace the Paterno legacy or distance itself?  (Photo: AP)

Now, in light of the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, there is some question about whether those nebulous words will be used by the N.C.A.A. to impose serious sanctions on the Nittany Lions football program, perhaps even to force the team to shut down for a time, the so-called death penalty.

The probability that the organization in charge of regulating college sports would shut down a program like Penn State’s football factory is about the same as the probability that Rush Limbaugh would say something intelligent.  People who suggest that such a thing could happen live in a rationale and reasonable world.  That is not the world of college athletics.

In order to save everybody time, here is a list of the excuses that the NCAA and Penn State will use for not shutting down the football program.  Pick your favorite and see how it stacks up to the ones the NCAA and Penn State actually use.

  1. Shutting down the program would punish innocent football players who have done nothing wrong, assuming you don’t count all the infractions those players are involved with.

  1. Penn State students deserve a football season, it’s why they went to the college in the first place.

  1. The loss of football would put 20 or so hot dog vendors out of work, and they would have to find other minimum wage jobs.

  1. Without football to divert their attention, students might spend more time in unsavory places, like classrooms, or horror upon horror, the library or computer labs.

  1. Banning football at Penn State might set a precedent, and force the NCAA to ban sports at other schools for minor things like using serial killers as basketball subs.

  1. If coaches and administrators are held responsible for their actions this would set a bad example for people aspiring to be politicians.

  1. With no football the athletic facilities would have to be opened up for the non-athletic scholarship students to use.  This could lead to the belief on the part of students that they are entitled to be treated the same as scholarship athletes.

It’s an easy quiz, and yes, ‘All of the Above’ is an acceptable answer. 

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