Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell (Maine) is helping to restore Penn State’s football program, and this week informed the NCAA that Penn State is showing changes and “integrity” in its athletic department. George Mitchell is retired from Congress but he serves as an Independent Athletics Integrity Monitor.
I’m not making that up.
The NCAA is gradually giving back Penn State some of the scholarships they lost after the Jerry Sandusky scandal — the worst scandal in college sports history — and there is talk that the NCAA may shorten the bowl ban.
God help us.
Isn’t it bad enough that the victims of Jerry Sandusky have to live with this emotional and physical pain everyday. Now they have to watch as the NCAA just pats Penn State on the head and says, “You’re doing a great job here with your punishment, Penn State. It’s OK that you’ve allowed a child rapist be a part of your program. Now, go get ‘em boys!”
That’s basically the message the NCAA is sending to State College.
I bet there are no vigils on campus during the fall (or any other time of year) for the victims. People who live in central Pennsylvania, in and around the mountains of Happy Valley, are obsessed and preoccupied with that football team in State College.
Nothing else matters during the fall over there, and since there usually isn’t anything else to do, people in that region of that state gravitate toward the one entity that can bring people together: college football.
The Big Ten supports what the NCAA is doing. Only about a year after the NCAA handed down those sanctions which some thought were like a death penalty (but weren’t), the conference can’t take a stand. They have to agree with basically everything the NCAA decides, because ultimately money talks and power talks and I’m sure the league doesn’t want to say anything conflicting with what the big guys decide.
What the NCAA should have done was put that football team in State College on death row.
Give them the death penalty and shut them down for a few years — at least two or three — to do some real damage. People opine and shout that the current players and coaches should not be punished for what a staff and a group of middle-aged men did before these guys even got to central Pennsylvania. But guess what?
It’s not just guilt by association.
Were the employees at Arthur Andersen and Enron punished for something their CEOs and COO’s did? Yes. Did the lowly administrative assistant working in a cubicle at Enron have anything to do with what Jeffrey Skilling did? No, but that person lost their job as a consequence of someone else’s actions.
The only way to really send a message to the fanatics and law breakers at Penn State who covered up this crime are to shut the program down, which the NCAA didn’t do.
Now Penn State football rising like a Phoenix and are ripening themselves to allow another scandal (of a smaller scale, surely, not as major as Jerry Sandusky, but a scandal nonetheless) to invade college sports. Because some people just never learn.