FanDuel - WFBC

July 14, 2012

Paterno's Secret $3.3 Million Parachute: In January 2011 Penn State head coach Joe Paterno testified to a grand jury about Jerry Sandusky. That same month he began secretly negotiating a special $3 million payout, forgiveness of $350,000 in loans and other perks if 2011 was his last season as coach. His contract didn't expire until the end of 2012 and the school wasn't seeking his ouster, making the logic of the deal curious. University president Graham Spanier agreed to the golden parachute contract with Paterno in August without telling the board of trustees. Deadspin characterizes the deal this way: "A powerful icon ... held an entire University hostage."

posted by rcade to football at 11:11 AM - 65 comments

Un-fucking-real. This makes it look more and more as if Paterno knew what was going on from the beginning. Im not a Penn State fan but I did have respect for Paternos accomplishments. That respect has pretty much vanished at this point.

posted by Folkways at 12:06 PM on July 14

Paterno takes a huge vulnerability -- his appalling inaction in response to a child predator in his athletic department -- and turns it into a $3.3 million windfall on a contract that wasn't up for another year.

The culture inside Penn State and Paterno's program was amazing. He had Spanier in his pocket and no one was holding them accountable. The entire board of trustees should resign and be replaced by governance that includes some non-Penn State people with impeccable integrity and credentials.

posted by rcade at 12:21 PM on July 14

Attempting to get out while the getting was good because he saw the axe about ready to fall. You can't say he didn't know he had a lot of power and wasn't willing to use it now.

With everything that's happened the last eight months, the NCAA needs to step in and use the death penalty to put the Penn St. football program out of our misery.

posted by NerfballPro at 01:18 PM on July 14

I hope someone is working on a Paterno personality profile study. What a complex and disturbing package this guy is turning out to be, after the fact.

The deep, nefarious aspects so beguilingly masked by the outward persona.

So many instances where he appeared guided by worthy ideals, principles, and personal attributes.

He was able to maintain his outward face even when the shit started hitting the fan late last year. Even while his family and inner circle was starting to lose their ability to cope. As in: don't blame the trucks full of media camped outside; they're just doing their job.

He went down with the ship having many people still believing he was the Coach Paterno they loved. Never went into a rant or rage after he was fired. Never made the situation about him. Never appeared to hide from anything or to have anything to hide.

He seemed at times to be forthright but with a naively clouded perception of the past. As in: "in hindsight, I should have done more".

The fact that he was even willing to address the Sandusky topic as he did under the circumstances by saying it was "one of the great sorrows of his life" is remarkable. Instead of clamming up as many people would do in that situation, he created the appearance of wanting to be open about it but not grasping the scope and severity of the allegations.

In its craft and artfulness, the way Paterno carried himself and handled his business is so far beyond the infamous doings of other bad news college coaches that he makes them look like amateur simpletons.

Hell, the classic mobster cliche of bumping guys off one minute and going to daily Mass the next is an entry level charade by comparison.

posted by beaverboard at 01:20 PM on July 14

Paterno's family is continuing the effort to deceive the public about him.

Last fall, the story was that 2001 was the first time he ever faced a Sandusky allegation, it was a heinous situation the old man didn't fully comprehend and he passed it along to his superiors.

Now that we know he faced Sandusky allegations in 1998, the story is that he didn't know Sandusky was a serial child predator.

"What a complex and disturbing package" is a good way to put it.

posted by rcade at 01:55 PM on July 14

Why have these "discoveries" surfaced after Paterno died and he can no longer defend himself? Regardless of what he knew or did not know, P was not the one who came upon the predator in action, and who apparently did nothing to put an immediate stop to the proceedings. It's that person who is responsible for the scandal which followed, and none other.

This desire to damage Paterno's good name and reputation is appalling. Refusal to chastise the one who failed to act is unforgivable.

posted by EEEEE at 02:02 PM on July 14

Plenty of people are chastising McQueary. Refusal to examine Paterno's actions after learning how deeply involved he was, is stupid.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:59 PM on July 14

Why have these "discoveries" surfaced after Paterno died and he can no longer defend himself?

Because Penn State got itself exempted from the state's right-to-know law.

You're one of the last people left absolving Paterno of all blame, EEEEE. He has no good name and reputation left outside of the PSU community.

Most people would disagree with you that a person told of a child rape has no responsibility to make sure the rapist is punished and the child is protected. A person whose motto is "success with honor," and who touts himself as a leader of young athletes and a builder of character, failed miserably at those ideals by ignoring the crimes of a child predator in his midst. Paterno turns out to have been a shameful and cowardly person.

posted by rcade at 03:10 PM on July 14

Can't read the story without an account, but it is too bad Paterno will never be able to speak for himself. His role in this entire disaster is evident, but I'm not yet willing to attribute every move he made to the Sandusky case. I have seen many, many people in all types of professions attempt to get huge payouts towards the end of their careers. An example is school district superintendents. And regardless of what is said or how the Penn State football team was currently fairing, there had been plenty of critics in years leading up to that wanting Paterno to be let go, thinking he was too old to be effective, not to mention the fact his health and injuries hadn't hardly allowed him to even be on the sidelines during games.

Remember, all of us have the benefit of knowing practically all the alleged facts and background of this case as we now sit here deciding who is guilty and of what. Paterno covering up, or failing to act on any of these situations, even if it was just one alleged act by Sandusky, is inexcusable, but I doubt he had any idea of the depth or severity of his (Sandusky's) acts. Again, action should have been taken and maybe more individuals would have been spared this abuse, but every move Paterno made in his life may not have been part of covering his tracks.

On another subject, what is the role or guilt of Sandusky's wife in all this? How can Joe Paterno be held more responsible than a woman who lived with this guy and, according to many of the victim accounts, were abused in their home, where she lived (including, possibly, their own foster son)?

posted by dyams at 03:11 PM on July 14

If Paterno had lived he might be facing criminal charges.

I have seen many, many people in all types of professions attempt to get huge payouts towards the end of their careers.

But no one was trying to end his career when he negotiated that contract. He was still planning to coach in 2012 when he secured a $3.3 million payment just-in-case he stopped coaching in 2011. He might have gotten that contract to make it less likely he'd be fired, which became a realistic possibility because of Sandusky's grand jury in January 2011.

Besides, if a top official who is leaving uses his power and influence to negotiate a huge exit deal for himself, how is that not an abuse of power? It doesn't benefit the organization he is leaving. It just helps him to money at a time when he was already under contract.

posted by rcade at 03:17 PM on July 14

The entire board of trustees should resign and be replaced by governance that includes some non-Penn State people with impeccable integrity and credentials.

That's how Joe Paterno may have been described just a few months ago. Fucked up, huh?

"What a complex and disturbing package" is a good way to put it.

Borderline sociopath is another. Every indication is that this man's public persona and his core beliefs were diametrically opposed. It takes a sociopath to pull that off for as long as he did.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:25 PM on July 14

At least the $3.3 mil Joe didn't get will be used for something good: wiping out the reminders of the assaults in the Lasch Football building. It's a start if nothing else.

On another subject, what is the role or guilt of Sandusky's wife in all this?

Dottie Sandusky will be spending a lot of time in court herself, defending her husband against a huge mountain of civil litigation coming their way. She may be looking at civil or criminal charges herself, as it's been stated she was present at the time of the some of the assaults that took place in their basement. One victim's testimony states that he called to her for help during an assault in progress but she ignored it.

There really are no words to adequately describe the sickness of this entire episode.

posted by NerfballPro at 03:29 PM on July 14

Remember, all of us have the benefit of knowing practically all the alleged facts and background of this case as we now sit here deciding who is guilty and of what.

If only we could have had these facts sooner. I wonder how that could have come about though?

posted by yerfatma at 04:28 PM on July 14

Senior tight end Garry Gilliam:

I had a relationship with him through myself, [...] my opinion on him has not changed in any way.

Junior running back Silas Redd

They don't know him how we know him. An opinion is an opinion, everyone is going to have one.

Link

posted by justgary at 06:18 PM on July 14

I had recalled that Joe Posnanski was "embedded" in State College working a Paterno biography-cum-hagiography at the time the scandal broke, but had not been following the progress of the project or whether it was still even a go. Apparently, his publisher has moved up the publication date from around Fathers Day 2013 to end of this summer (in advance of football season). Seems to me, with these additional revelations, they should delay and see what else comes out. Here is an article from this spring about the status of the book. As much as I like Posnanski, I somehow doubt that this will be the deep psychological profile beaverboard is calling for above. I actually think this is going to be a no-win situation for Posnanski -- he is going to get complaints from one side that that he is being too hard on Paterno and complaints from the other that he is brushing aside some pretty awful stuff.

And forgive me if this has been posted before (or if it seems like piling on), but I found this article in the WSJ from back in November 2011 (which was referenced in the piece on Ponanski linked above) about Paterno's intervention in, and views on, Penn State's role in disciplining his football players really eye-opening.

Finally, to complete the link dump, this article from yesterday addresses the question raised above regarding whether any NCAA discipline is likely. Seems the answer is that Penn State could be punished for "lack of institutional control" but it is unlikely that the program will be.

posted by holden at 09:00 AM on July 15

I hope, if Penn State football isn't dumped into the shitter where it belongs, that every team they play against for the next few seasons is given a rousing speech about coaches, staff, and players lying down with dogs and waking up with fleas, whitewashing legacies, lionizing the scum of the earth, excusing and even encouraging child rape.

I hope their opponents are reminded of how anyone who supports this, anyone who still wants to be a part of Nittany Lion football, is doing so while waving away child rape and subsequent cover-up. I hope some of these opponents take it personally, are reminded of themselves or others who they might know who were abused or raped, and bring an extra little bit of righteous anger and justified hate onto the field with them.

I hope the fans of other teams never forget, and never stop reminding their team and Penn State and the TV cameras how dirty, corrupt, and disgusting the criminals in charge of Nittany Lion football have been.

I hope, at least for the next ten years or so, that it hurts, physically, mentally, morally, to be part of that team. So much so, that recruits who haven't already been turned off by the crimes, and the coaches and culture that condoned them, will at least think There's no way I'm going to play there and be a target for the next four years, I want a career, why would I want to start out with shit on my face and a bunch of opponents trying to injure me and choose a school where they won't be coached, cheered, and supported by morally bankrupt dirtbags.

If the NCAA won't tank the program, the rest of us should.

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:09 PM on July 15

Wow. Not sure ruining a University where the guilty are currently rotting in jail, dead, or have been fired in disgrace, and those there currently, mainly the players and students, had nothing to do with it, would prove a whole hell of a lot. Will dumping the entire program make it a certainty that a pervert will never abuse another child? Getting rid of the football program will end abuse? If that's the case, then get rid of all college football programs. Then everything bad in the world will no longer exist.

posted by dyams at 02:45 PM on July 15

Will dumping the entire program make it a certainty that a pervert will never abuse another child?

It could make it a certainty that no coach, AD or university president would ever fail to report a crime.

posted by rcade at 04:56 PM on July 15

So ruin things for more kids at Penn State, who weren't around for any of this, because of what some adults, who are either gone or imprisoned, did to kids?

posted by dyams at 05:04 PM on July 15

Will dumping the entire program make it a certainty that a pervert will never abuse another child?

It could make it a certainty that no coach, AD or university president would ever fail to report a crime.

Because being fired and very probably going to prison isn't going to be enough of an incentive? Spanier is already the most famous university president in the country -- no one is going to forget his example for a long time, regardless of whether the Nittany Lions field a team in 2013.

posted by Etrigan at 05:08 PM on July 15

And because NCAA sanctions have stopped people from breaking laws/rules in the past...

posted by MeatSaber at 06:01 PM on July 15

So ruin things for more kids at Penn State, who weren't around for any of this, because of what some adults, who are either gone or imprisoned, did to kids?

Did you just use the word "kids" twice in the same sentence, once to refer to legal adults and once to refer to children?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:34 PM on July 15

Paterno liked to cover up player offenses involving violence, according to a former Penn State official.

So ruin things for more kids at Penn State, who weren't around for any of this, because of what some adults, who are either gone or imprisoned, did to kids?

Student athletes often pay a price when the school they chose to attend is punished for infractions that occurred before they were there. It's unfortunate, but there'd be no way to punish schools if not harming the current athletes was all that mattered.

posted by rcade at 06:40 PM on July 15

Thank you, dyams. I did not attend Penn State but have heard a lot of good things about its academics ... which Paterno stressed to his players. Many players have gone on to success off the football field.

Hugh, presumably you also would say that recruiters should tell potential student-athletes, not just in football but in other sports, since they'd have the "Penn State" on their uniforms and resumes, that they would be a target on the playing field or damaged goods in the job market because of this? That would be highly unethical.

What also would be highly unethical is if coaches would use this to inspire players to play rougher. Thankfully, most players will play as they normally do ... a simple tackle will still be a simple tackle; a hard foul will be a hard foul.

As for the "death penalty," I don't believe the NCAA has grounds in this case, since this is a moral case and not one that involves a program's field activities; the school's board or state education department would be able to make that decision.

posted by jjzucal at 09:58 AM on July 16

Death penalty or no, any decision (or even non-decision) the NCAA makes in this case will set a precedent. There's never been a criminal case this severe that the NCAA has had to consider, and there's probably nothing in their rules that covers it. Penn St. can maybe be cited for "lack of institutional control" which the Freeh Report has clearly established, but nothing that happened in this case can be tied to the legal conduct of student-athletes, cheating, academic fraud, accepting of inappropriate benefits, or anything else that could directly or indirectly influence the results of a football game or season.

I'd like to see the death penalty enacted on Penn St. just to disrupt the "culture" that has established itself there that allowed this to happen, but I doubt any penalties Penn St. gets will be that severe, if they ever get any.

Sandusky's in jail, Paterno and Spanier are gone, and Curley and Schultz will soon see their days in court. We'll have to be satisfied with that for the time being.

posted by NerfballPro at 10:26 AM on July 16

Hugh, presumably you also would say that recruiters should tell potential student-athletes, not just in football but in other sports, since they'd have the "Penn State" on their uniforms and resumes, that they would be a target on the playing field or damaged goods in the job market because of this?

Whether it's ethical or not (I personally think it's just fine), they will. Former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen lost recruits to other schools when their recruiters, seeing local kids leaning toward becoming a Terp, showed them pictures of how overweight and unhealthy Friedgen was, and asked "Do you want to play for a guy who has a good chance of keeling over before you finish your sophomore year, or do you want to play at a school where the head coach who recruits you will be the head coach who sends you to the NFL?" I think that's a fair question.

I likewise think it's fair for PSU prospects to be told by other teams' recruiters that the Penn State way is an evil one, that they'll not only have to leap the moral hurdle of playing in a system where football glory and one man's reputation is more important than protecting children from being raped, they'll have to play every other weekend against a team and in front of fans who won't let them forget it.

I have no problem with college athletes deciding to go somewhere else because the stink at Penn State is too much for their noses. It's fine with me if the fear of playing there and joining that system, becoming a pariah by association, helps them choose another school, where coaches and officials don't, in the interests of preserving their corrupt and complicit head coach's lily-white reputation, do their best to conceal and thus encourage repeated child rape by one of their own.

It's fine with me if PSU football collapses under the weight of this, the worst disgrace in college football history, and I have no problem with anyone who continues to support or participate in such a loathsome program being reminded, again and again, that if you think PSU football deserves your love, if you think Joe Paterno was a good man, that you're on the child rapist's team now.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:39 AM on July 16

I don't really see the NCAA coming down hard on this case because it isn't about money. The NCAA only really cares about money and who is getting it and who isn't. I doubt they care at all about kids.

posted by bperk at 11:11 AM on July 16

The audacity of some sports fans never fails to floor me, and I'm not talking about anyone here, necessarily. Thinking if Penn State, as a communitty and university, should crumble that the overwhelming problems surrounding sexual abuse and other forms of criminal activity will be solved. People who have followed and supported a university and a town for years and years are now supposed to feel guilty because of it?

Face the facts: There were a relatively small amount of people who acted horribly and didn't follow through with things as they should have, especially, as I've mentioned before, with the benefit of hindsight everyone has now. I'm not making excuses for any of it, but thinking destroying a university, when 99 percent of that institution had absolutely nothing to do with the situation, is ridiculous, won't undo what has been done, and won't stop the problem of sexual abuse or the possible moral crossroads people will continue to face when confronted with terrible issue. Everyone wants justice, but while college football is too big, it still doesn't erase everything a university does or achieves. Expecting those who Joe Paterno personally touched over his many years to automatically turn to hating his guts is too simplistic and won't automatically happen just because those who never actually knew him want it that way.

Abuse is and has been a huge, devastating problem for ages. It goes on in homes, schools, colleges, etc. and will continue, even if every NCAA Division 1 sport is eliminated. If a person, or people are so messed up they will overlook kids being abused and try to sweep it under the rug, they are beyond help and "death penalties" won't make them act differently. All that can happen is that entire cultures need to begin changing to ensure these crimes will hopefully not happen and, if they do, responsible people will make sure the guilty are stopped and/or held accountable.

Penn State will suffer from this for years and years, and this will hopefully prove to people in similar circumstances to do the right thing and keep people (especially kids) safe. But learning and moving forward is important too.

posted by dyams at 02:16 PM on July 16

Abuse is and has been a huge, devastating problem for ages. It goes on in homes, schools, colleges, etc

Hold that thought. I'll be coming back to it in a moment.

Penn State will suffer from this for years and years, and this will hopefully prove to people in similar circumstances to do the right thing and keep people (especially kids) safe.

So here's a question for you: do you think that "people in similar circumstances" would get the lesson if nothing happened to Penn State? Stop and think a minute before you say yes, because we have evidence to the contrary, don't we? We have evidence to the contrary in this very case. A series of crimes were committed. People in the institution knew about them and did not take appropriate action to stop them. Everyone, from the president down to the janitors, thought their interests were best served by dummying up. And nothing happened to any of those people until the matter became public. As of right now, Sandusky is being charged, Paterno was fired, and the president was fired -- all well after the scandal broke -- and who else has been touched? And you're worried about Penn State being "crushed"? Seems like the kid glove treatment so far. Seems to me like the worst that could happen to Penn State is not out of proportion, at all.

But learning and moving forward is important too.

Yeah, well, the lesson is there to be learned, but it seems to me like you don't really want to learn it, you just want to skip to the next grade. It doesn't work that way. Some lessons are painful, and there's no getting around them. You seem to want them to be pain-free, based on some highly selective notion of fairness (let's not be unfair to Penn State, and as for all the other people who were treated "unfairly", well that's in the past so I guess it doesn't matter, hmm?). A group of people didn't want to pay the cost associated with doing the right thing; now you, their apologist, don't want them to suffer the consequences for not having done the right thing. And before you go on about "99 percent of that institution", are you seriously going to tell me that this represents 1% of the Penn State student body? There were reportedly thousands of students in that riot. Moving forward? No, I don't think so. You only get to move forward when you've lived down your disgrace.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:22 PM on July 16

People do devastating damage when they drink and drive. Death, horrific consequences, monetary losses, etc. Has any of that stopped the problem? Laws, jail, etc. but it continues, because people don't think they, themselves, will be caught. It's not until they're caught, or something happens, that people think about it seriously, then, eventually, either do it again or overlook it.

Let me ask you, do you know people who drive after they've drank alcohol? I'm assuming you'll say every single person you know has either received a ride when they have drank, or utilized a designated driver. On the other hand, when someone you know or see has consumed alcohol and gotten behind the wheel, have you turned them in to the authorities? And I'm asking this of all readers, not just you, lbb.

My point is, people know how easily things can turn bad if they refuse to act in a way that may keep people safe. How much more will 100 percent ensure safety of kids from abuse, families from being crashed into by someone under the influence, etc.? If someone can assure me that dismantling Penn State will stop the posibility of sexual abuse ever taking place at a college, or any person overlooking a situation that places innocent people at serious risk, then I'm all for it. If jail, loss of career, shame, and inability to show your face anywhere in the country isn't enough, then I'm more for eliminating Division 1 college football all together.

My only question is, how much , or how many penalties against the school as a whole will be enough? How will we be sure? As was mentioned earlier, have those types of penalties solved all corruption and criminal activity in college football in the past?

posted by dyams at 03:59 PM on July 16

dyams, would you please either show me where anyone has advocated "dismantling Penn State", or back down the hyperbole?

My only question is,

Hardly that.

how much , or how many penalties against the school as a whole will be enough?

My question to you is, how many penalties against the school as a whole have been leveled to date? Please, I'm curious: can you please outline for me the draconian, over-the-top penalties that have already been leveled against Penn State, and that have you so terribly concerned for their fragile institutional future, that your number one concern is apparently that Penn State not be too damaged by this?

How will we be sure?

Sure of what? That they'll never do wrong again? We can't. Are you somehow under the impression that the purpose of punishment is to be absolutely, totally, 100% sure that the wrongdoer will never do wrong again?

As was mentioned earlier, have those types of penalties solved all corruption and criminal activity in college football in the past?

If, by "those types of penalties", you mean the so-called death penalty, you can read about the five times it has been invoked here. I leave the collection of evidence of subsequent wrongdoing as an exercise for the reader (or you could read my answer to your previous question, look up the definition of "deterrant", do a little bit of extrapolation, and save yourself the trouble).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:20 PM on July 16

Show me how penalizing schools works. We live in a society where guilty people are supposed to be held accountable. College athletics likes to penalize programs long after the guilty have left, leaving mainly the ones who weren't involved to pay for their violations. Many in the small town of State College depend on football for income. That fact makes them guilty in this entire episode? Penalizing football players that were never part of this terrible issue will achieve vindication? Taking away football will devastate the town and the university. If that's the goal, then I don't get it, but as long as everyone feels all this serves a purpose for the greater good, then have at it. Allow Jerry Sandusky and a several assholes to keep wreaking havoc. That's the only way everyone learns, I guess.

posted by dyams at 04:53 PM on July 16

Show me how penalizing schools works.

Show me a parallel case where it hasn't.

Taking away football will devastate the town and the university.

"Devastate"? Really? If "devastate" is the word you use to describe what will happen to Penn State and State College if they lose college football...for one year...what word do you use to describe what happened to Sandusky's victims? Or to victims of sexual abuse elsewhere who see an institution getting off without a penalty and despair that there will ever be justice in their cases? Honest to God, dyams, there's a lot of damage to go around here, and you want to rush the patient with the paper cut to the head of the first aid line? I just don't get it.

I don't know how old you are, dyams. Perhaps you're just not old enough to have seen the effect that punishments and deterrents have had in changing institutional behavior. If that's the case, you'll just have to take others' word for it that such change has happened. One good example is workplace sexual harassment in the United States: once a behavior that could be indulged in with impunity, now something that will get you fired fast -- because employers, managers, and HR departments learned (sometimes the hard way, sometimes by other businesses' learning the hard way) that you don't have to be a perpetrator to be held to account if you fail to act to prevent it. If you don't think that's changed the American workplace much for the better, I question your sanity.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:03 PM on July 16

Whenever I see Penn State students gathered in response to this scandal, they're demonstrating loud outrage against anyone in their university being held accountable for this scandal. I do not feel sorry about any consequences they might face over this.

People who have followed and supported a university and a town for years and years are now supposed to feel guilty because of it?

I'd be ashamed to be affiliated with Penn State because of this.

posted by rcade at 05:25 PM on July 16

Three more Sandusky victims have emerged as adults, going back to the 70s when Sandusky was in his late 20s.

posted by rcade at 05:40 PM on July 16

Penn State will suffer from this for years and years....

Yes. That's good.

posted by Hugh Janus at 05:52 PM on July 16

There's a difference between feeling "ashamed" and "guilty" over the situation rcade.

So when players aren't allowed to transfer schools, from Penn State to another university, because of this without sitting out a year, you're OK with that Hugh? Since they came to that school, and this issue took place before they arrived, they must be guilty and, in your mind, deserve to be punished too?

No, lbb, I can't tell you when a "death penalty" against a university hasn't worked, just as you can't point out when one has. For all you know, scandal, corruption, or worse is still taking place at any school that has been penalized. The prisons are full of disgusting criminals who never learned their lessons because of the crimes of others, mainly because nobody ever assumes or believes they'll be caught.

posted by dyams at 06:42 PM on July 16

SMU got the death penalty in football and it destroyed the school as a major football program for 25 years (and counting).

Personally, I think letting a booster pay 21 players $50 to $725 per month ($61,000 total) is less egregious than letting a serial sexual predator continue to have access to your athletic showers, run football camps for children, and run a charity for at-risk children -- and never warn the police or child welfare authorities about his suspicious behavior with naked kids.

posted by rcade at 06:55 PM on July 16

So when players aren't allowed to transfer schools, from Penn State to another university, because of this without sitting out a year, you're OK with that Hugh? Since they came to that school, and this issue took place before they arrived, they must be guilty and, in your mind, deserve to be punished too?

No, I wouldn't think the current players are guilty of raping children or covering it up. That would be a crazy thing to think, and nothing I've written here would lead a reasonable person to believe I wrote that.

For what it's worth, I think current players should be allowed to transfer away without penalty. This is an unprecedented situation, and I think unprecedented situations call for new ideas: I also think that athletes who want to quit the team but still keep getting a Penn State education should be able to keep their scholarships. I doubt the NCAA or Penn State would want that. I would hope that the average Pennsylvania taxpayer wouldn't begrudge them the chance for an education.

I think the football program should be severely sanctioned, and if that message isn't sent, the public and other schools' football teams should send the message in whatever way they can. That's what I said upthread.

If you want to put words in my mouth and pretend that I'm saying the whole university should be somehow destroyed, well, you're living in a dreamworld and there's not much I can do about that.

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:07 PM on July 16

Your words, in response to me saying "Penn State will suffer from this for years and years.":

Yes. That's good.

I'm not putting words in your mouth, just wishing people would think about all angles of their desire for vindication against Penn State. The sanctions you so easily throw out there will possibly impact many young people, only making it certain more lives are negatively impacted by this horrible situation.

posted by dyams at 07:16 PM on July 16

Current prospects choosing somewhere else to play college football doesn't seem like such a bad thing. Fans drifting away from a culture where coaches line their pockets and hide their colleagues' child rape habits while pretending to be the most upright folks in the NCAA, that's good. Students and fans -- now fighting against the idea that Joe Pa was a bad guy for hiding, sheltering, and abetting child rape -- eventually learning that in fact this kind of thing has consequences, that's fine with me.

There is a group of young men who were hurt much more than even the harshest sanctions could hurt any current or future Penn State athlete, student, or fan. I think retribution on their behalf against the program that helped Sandusky rape them is just.

Also, you definitely put words in my mouth.

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:56 PM on July 16

Make a broad, general statement with no explanation and you kinda invite that.

posted by dyams at 08:10 PM on July 16

Unfortunately all the guilty will be gone from Penn State and the university will continue to suffer. It sucks that football and Paterno are such a part of the school's fabric that the current students and alum will be tarred with this.

posted by bperk at 08:12 PM on July 16

Make a broad, general statement with no explanation and you kinda invite that.

That's rubbish. I made a lot of specific statements in this thread and you mischaracterized those, too. You ignore entire swathes of unassailable points, not just from me, and pick odd little bits to inflate into invented arguments that you're more comfortable poking at.

At at least you're admitting to putting words in my mouth, though. I should probably leave you to your dreamworld. Have fun.

posted by Hugh Janus at 08:22 PM on July 16

Talking about one, three-word statement you made, Hugh, not every word you've ever typed. Just trying to make you, for one, realize there are many aspects to consider when deciding on penalties that impact the innocent, not just the guilty.

I'll enjoy my dreamworld, as you put it, while you enjoy wallowing in bitter feelings you seem to hold against everyone who has ever been involved with a great school and community, fuckheads like Jerry Sandusky, some administrators, and a head coach not withstanding.

posted by dyams at 08:45 PM on July 16

There's a difference between feeling "ashamed" and "guilty" over the situation rcade.

Yes, there is...and you are the only person who has used the words "guilt" or "guilty" in this thread.

No, lbb, I can't tell you when a "death penalty" against a university hasn't worked, just as you can't point out when one has.

Oh, so now a punishment has to have proven effectiveness in order to be justified? Never mind the NCAA, better tell that to WADA, not to mention every criminal justice system in the world.

I'm not putting words in your mouth, just wishing people would think about all angles of their desire for vindication against Penn State.

You are putting words in people's mouths, when you say that people have a "desire for vindication".

I'll enjoy my dreamworld, as you put it, while you enjoy wallowing in bitter feelings you seem to hold against everyone who has ever been involved with a great school and community, fuckheads like Jerry Sandusky, some administrators, and a head coach not withstanding.

Emphasis mine. No, you're not putting words in people's mouths. Not a bit of it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:09 PM on July 16

bperk:

It sucks that football and Paterno are such a part of the school's fabric that the current students and alum will be tarred with this.

Yes, it does suck. It sucks much less than any of the alternatives. It might also be an opportunity for the institution to reevaluate just what they're all about. If "ootball and Paterno are such a part of the school's fabric", maybe that's where Penn State made its mistake, and maybe that's what it has to put right.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:11 PM on July 16

dyams, it's totally unclear to me what you are arguing for, other than us all forgetting about it and moving on because it's unfair to do otherwise.

posted by yerfatma at 10:25 PM on July 16

I'm saying penalties long after the fact that negatively impact a program often have consequences that don't necessarily make sense, and that are often overlooked. One example is what I mentioned about players who want to transfer without being ruled ineligible to play. These are players who had about as much to do with this abuse scandal as you and I, but they all of a sudden have their lives turned around, and not in a good way. It's just one example, but I find it ironic, in a case where people are upset about how young people were mistreated that the result is to turn the lives of more young people upside-down.

I'm not saying for people to forget and just move on, but for all aspects of potential penalties to be looked at so a case of abuse doesn't serve to abuse the lives of more young people, hundreds who currently came to a school with no idea this was hanging over the university's head. And the actions of a small few will not make me think less of a great school, great town, with thousands of great people. These people, like me, like you, like everyone, practically, were stunned, horrified, and sickened that this type of thing happened. When someone says make a case where they simply say, Penn State has to pay! I only want them to keep in the back of their minds that Penn State is more than the rotten scumbags that acted criminally and irresponsibly.

posted by dyams at 06:08 AM on July 17

I'm saying penalties long after the fact that negatively impact a program often have consequences that don't necessarily make sense, and that are often overlooked.

I think this is probably true, but I don't know that it's relevant or important. Arguably we as a species should become a lot wiser when considering unintended consequences; I just don't think that a college football program is the place to draw the line. In the absolute worst case, dyams, considering the most over-the-top damage that could possibly happen to Penn State football...it really still is just a game. The unintended consequences just don't compare with the unintended consequences of hydro-fracking, or building a border fence, or changing public school educational policy, or building a school for girls in Afghanistan. Now, if people and institutions have hitched their aspirations (for a career, for a six-figure salary, for meaning in life) to that game, I feel some sympathy for the disappointment of their hopes. The proximate causes (the rapes and the coverup) were not their doing; they are blameless for those causes. But they are not really blameless for the failure of their aspirations: they chose to invest their hopes in a college football program rather than something more enduring, something with more intrinsic worth. They built their castles on sand, and the sympathy I feel for them is the same sympathy I'd feel for someone who built on sand and now sees their castle wash away.

When someone says make a case where they simply say, Penn State has to pay! I only want them to keep in the back of their minds that Penn State is more than the rotten scumbags that acted criminally and irresponsibly.

dyams, why do you so stubbornly insist, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that "someone" thinks that "Penn State is [no] more than the rotten scumbags that acted criminally and irresponsibly"? After it has been dismantled for you multiple times, why do you keep resurrecting this strawman? It makes you sound like you just want to play the martyr and have everyone cry about your hurts. Honestly, even if it were as you say (and it's not), you'd be way at the back of the triage line when the damage was assessed.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:15 AM on July 17

I think Penn State is losing a lot more than a football program. This is a distinguished academic institution that now has a severely damaged reputation. As in most college towns, the entire community is built around the school. I don't think it is fair to say that the students, alum, faculty, and community share any of the blame because they are fans of football. There is a whole lot more going on than a game, and I doubt dyams is solely concerned about the game of football.

posted by bperk at 09:51 AM on July 17

I'm saying penalties long after the fact that negatively impact a program often have consequences that don't necessarily make sense, and that are often overlooked.

The penalties would have occurred sooner, absent a conspiracy at the highest levels of Penn State that included the university president, head football coach, head of campus security and the entire board of trustees.

What you're arguing for, essentially, is Penn State to avoid paying a price for the heinous actions committed to protect its reputation and football team. Because the young adults who play football deserve more consideration than the young children who were raped ever got.

But surely it has not escaped you that if the young people who play football are protected from harm, the team they play for can keep on rolling as a major football program.

Personally, I'd like to see that football team pay an on-field price. I think it would be a small dose of karmic justice to have Joe Paterno's grubby hands reach out from the grave and drag his beloved program down.

posted by rcade at 10:27 AM on July 17

I think Penn State is losing a lot more than a football program. This is a distinguished academic institution that now has a severely damaged reputation. As in most college towns, the entire community is built around the school. I don't think it is fair to say that the students, alum, faculty, and community share any of the blame because they are fans of football.

They don't share any of the blame for the sexual assaults, period. They are going to have to share the consequences, however. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas -- even if you were sure that the dogs were vermin-free (guess you were wrong about that). Accepting your assessment of the university, its alums, students, faculty and community entirely at face value, I say again: when you invest so much of your meaning, identity and future in something, to the point where you turn out in the thousands and riot in its defense when it has done something indefensible, you risk losing a great deal when that something turns out to be rotten. And when you do, that loss is all on you.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:44 AM on July 17

I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but the students who chose to attend Penn State did not lie down with any dogs. They chose an outstanding public university to attend. And, the small percentage that came out in support of Paterno (because they didn't like how he was fired, not because they support child molestation) do not represent all of Penn State's 40,000 students. They certainly don't represent the millions and millions of alum. All of these people, whether they care about or support the football program, or if they went to Penn State because of the engineering program, are harmed by this.

posted by bperk at 11:36 AM on July 17

I think current players should be allowed to transfer away without penalty

Strongly agree.

Can you imagine how horrible it must be* for a student or student athlete who worked their butt off to get into Penn State? I can't believe there is a single student attending that school who wants to be associated with what it stands for. They ought to shut the place down and use any remaining assets to finance relocation of current students to other universities.

(*certainly not attempting to lessen the focus on the primary victims of Penn State)

posted by cixelsyd at 11:41 AM on July 17

I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but the students who chose to attend Penn State did not lie down with any dogs. They chose an outstanding public university to attend.

I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but when you get in bed with someone, and it turns out you were wrong about their character, some of it rubs off on you. It's not a right thing, it's not a wrong thing, it's how things work. It's a consequence. You can go on all you want about how they don't deserve blame (or at least, until you realize that no one has disagreed with you), but that's a non sequitur. There's a difference between blame and consequences. This is a consequence.

I would also guess that this consequence gets worse if your primary contribution to the discussion is a loud proclamation of your blamelessness and complaints about how unfair the situation is for you. This is another choice that Penn State students/faculty/alums/etc. get to make now. If you want the world to think well of you, I'd think that a good way to show character would be to acknowledge that the collective "you" did screw up (if you got to say "we won!" after a football game, then yeah, "we screwed up" fits here...not "we screwed the kids in the shower", but "we screwed up by investing so much importance and significance and power in this program that is not central to the mission of the university"), and bite your tongue on the impulse to defend yourselves from criticism. The criticism won't hurt you, cost you a job, keep you from transferring to another school, make your high school friends think you're an admirer of pedophiles for wanting to attend Penn State, or sully your fondness for your alma mater unless you get all neurotic and defensive and let it. It may sting, but and it may not represent perfect justice, but the harm is slight, and really doesn't warrant the wailing and gnashing of teeth that Penn State fans are putting out.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:11 PM on July 17

who chose to attend Penn State did not lie down with any dogs. They chose an outstanding public university to attend.

Not a single one of them was influenced by the presence of a big D1 football program, huh?

posted by yerfatma at 12:22 PM on July 17

Lbb, I'm glad it is not my school because there is no way that I would take any collective responsibility (or willingly accept consequences) for a few privileged, elite guys protecting one another from behavior that I find abhorrent. That would never happen. I certainly don't begrudge them reacting the way I would with loud proclamations to that effect. Further, I'm not so sure that this scandal doesn't devalue their degrees or their education, which is what I find troubling.

Yerfatma, I'm sure some did and I bet some people bought the hype that this football program was full of integrity and honor and all that stuff they were selling and ended up attending or joining the football team. I guess I just don't agree that they laid down with dogs or whatever. I think they were duped.

posted by bperk at 12:40 PM on July 17

Further, I'm not so sure that this scandal doesn't devalue their degrees or their education, which is what I find troubling.

I think that's an absurd conjecture, so we'll just have to agree to disagree. Devalue their degree? Who in their right mind is going to think that an econ major from Penn State had anything to do with raping children in showers? Devalue their education?? What, did the scandal cause half the books to vanish from the library and the lecturing professors to forget their core subjects? Did it cause the students to suddenly be unable to learn?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:43 PM on July 17

I think this does devalue a Penn State degree a little in the short term. A lot of prestige was tied up in Joe Paterno's celebrated character and the "success with honor" excellence of the football team. Everything else being equal, I would have thought more of a Penn State grad than an Ohio State grad. I bought the act.

If I was a prospective student and my decision was close between Penn State and another school, I'd be thinking hard about how much longer people will be talking about horrific child sex abuse.

Obviously, there's a lot more an alumnus is judged by than the reputation of their football team.

posted by rcade at 01:12 PM on July 17

I think this does devalue a Penn State degree a little in the short term. A lot of prestige was tied up in Joe Paterno's celebrated character and the "success with honor" excellence of the football team. Everything else being equal, I would have thought more of a Penn State grad than an Ohio State grad. I bought the act.

Well, if you all insist that you'd feel so, I guess I have to accept that...but honestly, it strikes me as insane that anyone would consider it relevant. You're hiring someone to be a software engineer or you're admitting them into your medical school or something...and you really think that you'd see their being from Penn State as a negative -- because of Joe Paterno? And previously, you'd have said, "Oh, he's from Penn State, home of Joe Paterno! He'll make a brilliant brain surgeon!" Really?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:57 PM on July 17

This thread seems to get more bloated* each time I refresh.

Fact is, Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky and a handful of Penn State VIPs were directly involved in either child molestation, or covering it up. Money was exchanged, a local prosecutor is missing and presumed dead. If there ever was a time to slap the death sentence on to a football program, this is it. If there ever was an example of a football program, and it's well being, being placed before an academic degree, this is also it. The kicker is that JoPa seemed to project the opposite throughout his career. And for me, his few mistakes outweigh his positive contributions.

Funny how some argue that the 'death sentence' would be draconian or misapplied because Paterno's dead or Sandusky's in jail. And the argument used is apocalyptic in nature, suggesting that this will kill the community, destroy the school, devalue a degree's integrity. Seems a wee-bit exaggerated. May as well just nuke the place, I guess.

The football program would recover. The community would be fine. An academic degree from Penn State will maintain it's value.

Penn Sate officials deserve every ounce of penalty they receive due to this heinous act. I feel bad for any innocent casualties, but not enough to place their successful futures in front of kids who have had theirs taken away. I'm personally outraged because there is any debate at all over this.

*I comment with no intention of having it stop here.

posted by BoKnows at 02:59 PM on July 17

Obviously, there's a lot more an alumnus is judged by than the reputation of their football team.

As a graduate of Miami University (undergrad) and University of the Pacific (grad school), I offer a resounding sigh of relief.

it strikes me as insane that anyone would consider it [football team reputation] relevant

I'm not sure that it has to be a rational thought in the mind of the person. They might attach a negative connotation to the Penn State name without really consciously knowing why. Hell, last year, I might have placed an elevated value on a Penn State degree without ever making the conscious connection to Paterno's squeaky clean reputation. Going forward, I believe that it will be difficult for me to separate the overall institution from the crimes committed in the name of football. Whether you believe that is right or wrong is in your own mind.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:21 PM on July 17

I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but the students who chose to attend Penn State did not lie down with any dogs. They chose an outstanding public university to attend.

How much of its reputation as an outstanding public university is due to its football success? Per a recent economic study, wins not only increase alumni donations, they also increase applications, in-state enrollment and applicant SAT scores. Penn State, probably more than any other school above the Mason-Dixon line, has reaped the benefits of increased exposure due to football. Now they get to see what that brought along with it.

Would you judge Penn State to be on a par with Texas or Illinois? I would, sure. How about UC Irvine? Probably not, but U.S. News & World Report ranks the four of them in a tie as the 45th best National University.

posted by Etrigan at 03:50 PM on July 17

It sucks that football and Paterno are such a part of the school's fabric that the current students and alum will be tarred with this.

Well, if they wanted to gain the benefits of being associated with Paterno and the football program when it was considered a golden child of the NCAA, then they have to suffer the penalties of being associated with it when it was the pit of disgrace.

You cant have the good without the bad.

posted by grum@work at 03:51 PM on July 17

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.