Tag Archives: Joe Paterno

The NCAA moves quickly against Penn State

Now if Joe Paterno and Penn State had acted as quickly and decisively against Jerry Sandusky as the NCAA did, there would be far less victims and no sanctions.  Yahoo! Sports has the report.

Two sources with knowledge of the Penn State penalties said NCAA president Mark Emmert will announce Monday that he is personally sanctioning Penn State after receiving approval from the association’s Division I Board of directors, which is comprised of 22 college presidents and chancellors. One source told Yahoo! Sports Emmert’s sanctions will include a “multiple-year” bowl ban and “crippling” scholarship losses. Penn State will not receive the "death penalty."

The move will mark a first in NCAA history, in which the president will invoke a defense of the NCAA’s constitution as part of his reasoning for taking the unprecedented steps. The moment is groundbreaking in that Emmert is circumventing typical NCAA process and moving forward without an investigation by his enforcement staff. However, Emmert is expected to detail that the action is backed by a special provision allowing such a step if he receives approval from the NCAA’s board of directors. A source told Y! Sports the NCAA is prepared to defend the lack of an investigation by focusing on the Freeh Report, and Emmert’s determination that the report provided actionable evidence.

The report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that former coach Joe Paterno, former president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz "concealed" facts tied to Sandusky’s abuse of children.

Fired by a phone call

This is probably my last post on Penn State and Joe Paterno for a while as he was fired last night by the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Joe Paterno, a man who until last week could make a claim to being the greatest coaching institution in the history of college athletics, was terminated Wednesday night with a phone call. Forty-six years as head football coach at Penn State ended when he was informed by university trustees John Surma and Steve Garban that his services were no longer needed. Effective immediately.

It’s the way some employers would treat a middle manager, not a legend. But in the end, maybe that’s heartlessly fitting – after all, Paterno abdicated his powerful role and played the part of a mid-level employee in passing the buck up the ladder when informed in 2002 that an alleged pedophile had raped a boy in the showers of his football complex. The crucial lack of leadership in a moment of dire crisis led to the end of his leadership at Penn State.

Joe Paterno about to ousted at Penn State

The writing is on the wall for Penn State’s Joe Paterno.

Joe Paterno’s tenure as coach of the Penn State football team will soon be over, perhaps within days or weeks, in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated university officials, according to two people briefed on conversations among the university’s top officials.

It was one horrible misjudgement from a coach that until now has always been known for his good judgement.

Paterno has not been charged in the matter, but his failure to report to authorities what he knew about the 2002 incident, in which Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulted a young boy at Penn State’s football complex, has become a flashpoint, stirring anger among the board members and an outpouring of public criticism about his handling of the matter.

In recent days Paterno has lost the support of many board members, and their conversations illustrate a decisive shift in the power structure at the university. In 2004, for instance, Paterno brushed off a request by the university president that he step down.

Paterno came to Penn State in 1950 as a 23-year-old assistant coach making $3,600 a year. He planned to stay for two seasons, to pay off his student loans from Brown University, where he earned a degree in English literature.

He became the head coach in 1966, and he has been widely credited with helping spearhead the Penn State football program and the rest of the university from a local enterprise into a national brand. Along the way, Beaver Stadium grew to 108,000 seats from 29,000 and Penn State’s endowment grew from virtually nothing to more than $1 billion.

What separated Paterno from many of his coaching peers until this week was that he did this with few questions about how he grew the program. Penn State’s lofty graduation rates and education-first ideals, known as Paterno’s Grand Experiment, became as synonymous with the program as its plain uniforms and dominating defenses.

The legacy of Joe Paterno

I am a big Joe Paterno fan.  I always have been but as Dan Wetzel writes, the allegations against the coaching legend are serious enough to forever taint his legacy.

Pennsylvania law asks employees to pass the information up their chain of command, where it fell on Curley to tell authorities. However, Paterno is no normal middle manager. He is a powerful and iconic figure across the state and Curley worked as much for him as he did for Curley.

Joe PaternoPaterno also built his reputation as much for his moral compass and NCAA compliance as his 409 career victories in his five-plus decade career as head coach at Penn State. Paterno has always been about doing more than the letter of the law.

How could he possibly agree that there was concern that something inappropriate may have occurred between an old man and a young boy in the shower of what should’ve been a closed locker room yet apparently believe the information wasn’t inappropriate enough to call the cops himself?

There is no sliding scale here. There is no reasonable explanation for a then 58-year-old man and a 10-year-old boy to be in that situation. This was a potential sexual assault of a minor occurring inside Paterno’s own locker room, by a long-time assistant coach and former player.

McQueary shouldn’t have had to provide explicit detail of what he saw for Paterno to be outraged and spring to action.

What Paterno heard and how he heard it was enough to call his boss to his home on a Sunday. It also should’ve been enough to follow up with police and continue to pursue it in the ensuing years.

Legally Paterno wasn’t required to do more. But since when has just doing enough been sufficient for a man such as Paterno?

Paterno wants us to wait for the legal system to play out but why not bring in the legal system in 2002?  I can’t help but feel that this is in many ways more connected to the corruption and the grotesque thing that NCAA football has allowed itself to grow into than we want to admit. 

If he had called the police, it would have been one more reason to respect Paterno.  By not doing something more, it will tarnish his reputation forever.

Update: Here is what it feels like to be a part of Penn State right now.