STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — The NCAA crippled Penn State football for years to come and practically tore Joe Paterno’s name out of the record books Monday, erasing 14 years of victories and imposing an unprecedented $60 million fine and other punishment over the child sexual abuse scandal.
“Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,” NCAA President Mark Emmert declared in announcing the penalties.
The governing body of college sports shredded what was left of the Hall of Fame coach’s legacy – the sanctions cost Paterno 111 wins and his standing as the most successful coach in the history of big-time college football – while dealing a severe blow to the university’s gold-plated gridiron program.
The NCAA ordered Penn State to sit out the postseason for four years, slashed the number of scholarships it can award and placed football on probation, all of which will make it difficult for the Nittany Lions to compete at the sport’s highest level.
Raising the specter of an exodus of athletes, the NCAA said current or incoming football players at Penn State are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.
For a university that always claimed to hold itself to a higher standard – for decades, Paterno preached “success with honor” – Monday’s announcement completed a stunning fall from grace.
Phi Beta Iota: This is right up there with Catholic excommunication, Amish shunning, and hard prison time for an impeached US President. It represents, in our collective opinion, a *major* cultural break with the past. The fine is the normal part. Stripping victories all the way back to 1998 when the first cover-up occurred, is a cross between eternal damnation and a scorched earth / sow salt into the fields penalization that is a new cultural “line in the sand.” While perhaps hasty, we disagree with those who wish to preserve Paterno’s record — he was a principal in the cover-up, and like each of our presidents and vice presidents since JFK, it is right that he should pay for his ethical breach of trust with players, parents, fans, and all other stakeholders in the national sport. Indeed, the NCAA shames the US Congress, which has been totally lacking in integrity since Newt Gingrich destroyed bi-partisanship and turned Congress into footsolders for the President and perpetuators of the two-party tyranny that is the sucking chest wound in the Republic. The secrecy of national intelligence and counterintelligence have neutered their potentially positive role. The abdication by the Office of Management and Budget of its management role has left the Cabinet adrift in ideological and financial games devoid of the public interest. NCAA has set a new standard in the USA. Something important has happened here, and we salute the NCAA for its ethical balance and its astonishly appropriate and stern measures.
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