Sucking the Life From Penn State

The baddest beast on the block

Sucking the Life From Penn State

Last night I watched a television show called True Blood in which vampires discussed how they should approach relationships with humans and the outside world. There are buckets of supernatural critters in the HBO series, like werewolves, and fairies, and I keep waiting for bigfoot to show up, but vampires are clearly the baddest beasts on the block.

They move fast, can torture and kill with ease, but the question among vampires is: should they? Should the powerful impose their will on the weaker humans, or try to live in balance and co-exist? It was quite a debate.

This morning NCAA President Mark Emmert hit Penn State University with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban, and the dismissal of all football related wins from 1998 to 2011. The money must be placed in an endowment for external programs related to child sexual abuse. The career record of former head football coach Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records. Also, Penn State must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period, because the NCAA truly cares about education, doesn’t it? Penn State's four-year postseason ban will be the longest in major college football since Indiana University in 1960, and with these sanctions, Paterno loses 106 wins, making Eddie Robinson the winningest football coach in Division I history, if that even remotely matters.

The choice to cut Penn State down in such a manner is more than disappointing. Paterno and the ghouls that protected Jerry Sandusky have earned punishment, but this ruling is operating with a broadsword and not a scalpel. It places further damage on the hundreds of thousands of lives, the players, coaches, administrators, and fans of Penn State football that had nothing to do with Sandusky. The real monsters here should be dealt with in civil and criminal courts, not by the righteous behavior of Emmert and the NCAA. This decision guts Penn State athletics as a whole. The football team brings in enough revenue to pay for all of the athletic programs, such as women’s soccer, but that clearly doesn’t matter to Emmert. He is the superior one here. He has moved fast, and, yes, he is powerful. Emmert is the baddest beast on this block, and he wants all to know it. Schools should function in fear of him.

As I write this Desmond Howard, former Heisman Trophy Winner and current ESPN analyst, has tweeted “Applause for Mark Emmert (and NCAA) for ‘walking the walk.' The toothless committee just grew fangs overnight.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my point. Today’s move by Emmert didn't bring justice to any of Sandusky's victims and it didn't help clean house at Penn State, it was nothing more than a show that continues the torture of the people of State College, and will drain the life of the damaged region for years to come. By the way, I don’t suggest watching True Blood. It can be entertaining at times, but it’s a melodramatic romp that takes itself far too seriously, much like college athletics.

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