The NCAA came down hard on Penn State today. Four years with no chance of bowl appearances, all wins from 1998 onward stricken from the record (Removing Joe Paterno from the Winningest Coach List), and a sixty million dollar fine. One of the things I'm glad they did was to allow their football players the opportunity to move to another program without having to sit out for a year. After all, they weren't the problem.
Jerry Sandusky, the new poster child for 'Perverts in Jail', was the main problem. Then you have the likes of Joe Paterno and the others at Penn State who were in positions of authority and decided the prestige of the university and the lucrative football program were more important than doing the decent thing. They were the rest of the problem. Now, neither the prestige or their money has been saved.
I have to give the university some kudos, though. They didn't take very long to remove Paterno's statue and put it in mothballs. The only other thing they should have done was to melt it down, sell the bronze, and give the proceeds to organizations that help abused kids. I hope their coffers that hold the horde of gold Paterno made for them are full and deep. It's estimated another thirty million dollars may be scooped up from all the civil suits coming their way.
However, there really isn't any redeeming thing here. The athletic director of Penn State was NOT Paterno's boss. Paterno didn't have a boss at Happy Valley; period. He was an icon who more than likely could have told the whole board of directors at Penn State to eat their own feces and they would have blindly obeyed. Paterno was a money maker of legendary proportions at that level of collegiate sports. They even gave him a lucrative retirement contract prior to him being fired. Even now, as his statue was being taken down, some idiots were shouting, "We love you, JoePa!". What cretins.
The fact is, Joe Paterno could have stopped this in its tracks with just a word. But, Sandusky was his friend, Penn State was his life, and football was his god. He didn't know those children, and he had no real proof they were being abused. Yet, the accusation was there, and according to reports from the trial, he did nothing beyond submitting what he had been told to the athletic director, and then washed his hands of it. However, he didn't wash them very well. From now to the end of Penn State's history they will be stained with more than just shame. They will be stained with lives destroyed, memories too horrible to imagine, a university's students embarrassed at their connection, and a once proud collegiate program brought to its knees.
The worst part of it is, he won't be around to endure the vilification of his non-action or to answer for his omission of trying to do the right thing, regardless of the personal cost. The type of character you possess is determined by what you do when nobody knows you're doing it. In this case, Joe Paterno's character is brought into serious question regarding what he didn't do when nobody knew he wasn't doing it.
There is a truism among us in the work-a-day world. One screw-up erases a thousand atta-boys. We all should keep that in the forefront of our mind when we are met with a dilemma of choice between good and evil. If we choose good, it may be looked upon by the majority as an evil thing and then bring upon you unwanted consequences. If, however, we decide the path of least resistance is to side with the evil thing, so the image of reputation and the influx of money can continue to be held above all else; do not wonder where the glory went when the truth comes out and the good thing takes precedence.
I submit to you another truism. Be sure, your sin will find you out.