Several readers were inspired to write to me replies on my recent column where I suggested that the NCAA had overstepped the boundaries of common sense with their decision to penalize the entire football program at Penn State for the alleged sins of three men (still no trialF and based on the conviction of a former coach who had not, at the time, been in the university’s employ for well over a decade. Here are some of the letters:
“Thanks for such great column in this week’s dlobe ... I agree with you 100 % ... I wish more people in the media had the guts to speak out as you have ... Thanks again ...” (Jim DaviesF.
You are welcome Jim, for some reason a lot of media people seem to be singing off the “politically correct” songsheet and not bothering to have an original thought.
“I wish to thank you for your editorial (sicF about Penn State and its many woes. My family … my husband, myself and our four children all graduated from Penn State. We sat through many games in which Penn State did not shine, but we loved them anyway. My one hope is that when today’s fans sit through games where the Lions are not shining they will remember that ‘WE ARE PENN STATE’ and will love them anyway. All we can ask of the University and the athletic teams is that they do their best.
“The President and the Board of Trustees did not do their best in this situation. The NCAA did not even touch the service of doing its best. I will stick with Penn State and the Nittany Lions through all that is to come and will continue to support them.” (Suzanne SuttonF.
Thanks Suzanne. It might be prudent here to comment on where the “We Are Penn State” slogan came from. It had its roots in 1946 as a reaction to a civil rights issue when the host team at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas asked the university to leave its black players home. Penn State’s leaders took the high ground and they played (included in the group was Cheltenham High’s Wallace TriplettF. The game ended in a 13-13 tie.
“I could not agree with you more regarding your article re the NCAA overstepping its bounds. I have been waiting for someone to write something that made sense as far as Penn State and their football program. Why should the incoming students or the students that will return in September be punished for something other members of the Penn State staff are responsible for? Also, the wins that Joe Paterno has are his. They are games won and have nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky assaulting boys. I would like to see more of the victims come forward anonymously like victim 4 and ask that the school retain its wins and like you said, help the other sports programs and the town of State College. It was totally a knee jerk reaction and will hurt the college and its programs for a long time all because of what one sick man did. Thanks.” (Kay ConeryF
You have the Freeh report that some people see as flawed, full of suppositions and unsupported opinions — and little actual proof. Coach Paterno was never given his day in court and all accusations against him are he said, she said, without any concrete evidence and are unquestionably onesided. Paterno’s family and now some PSU trustees and former players want to appeal their decision and the all-powerful NCAA says “we don’t hear appeals.” Who’s running the NCAA dod?
Reader Mark Norton wrote: “I just concluded reading the editorial (sicF you wrote. I do not agree with your premise. I suppose you have lost sight of the fact that the most important facet of life is people and they should always come first before an institution! You indicated that the NCAA’s removal of the 112 contests won by Penn State was done to tarnish the legacy of Joe Paterno … they did the right thing by expunging the victories. There are always innocent people who are punished when a crime is committed. Think of a murder, whose family has to live with the tragedy of the events. Think about the victims of the Penn State tragedy … their lives forever disfigured and tarnished because educators cared more about sports and money, than people!”
I forget, which court of law was Joe Paterno convicted in? Oh, that’s right, he wasn’t. According to the law he committed no crime. Nor, so far, have been the other three men named in the Freeh report, including the former president. The NCAA based their findings on a report that concluded what it was told to conclude, ordered up by the university. The NCAA was too lazy to even convene its own investigation.
A win, is a win, is a win. A decree vacating the wins from the NCAA serves no purpose. Did Penn State violate anything the NCAA has to do with? Academics, eligibility? Of course not. PSU ran a clean program.
Stop singing the “people are more important” song, we all know that, but many people have suffered here that had nothing at all to do with Sandusky’s crimes. No one disagrees that what he did was deplorable, but did a kid playing halfback at Penn State 12 years ago and getting a good education do anything? You know the answer.
Ted Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.