Penn State: Shut the Program Down

By now you’ve heard the Freeh Report has been released and it’s not good news for Penn State.  As Dan Wetzel at Yahoo! Sports writes:

In clear, calm, concise and unrelenting words, a report from an independent investigation into Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual molestation case assigned blame in harsh terms to a wide-ranging group of high-ranking officials.

From iconic football coach Joe Paterno, to now fired president Graham Spanier, to a detached Board of Trustees, the failures, lack of concern and ceding of oversight, no one escaped blame in failing to stop Sandusky’s 15-year plus reign of terror in central Pennsylvania.

“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” the Freeh Commission report, released Thursday morning, reads. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

Most notably Paterno’s failures are profound and clash with his previous portrayals.

The Freeh Report concluded that, as many had assumed, Paterno (as well as other administrators) was aware of a 1998 criminal investigation on allegations that Sandusky abused a boy in Penn State locker room showers. While the local district attorney did not prosecute, the Freeh Group condemned Paterno and the others for not setting up further precautions against Sandusky’s behavior.

Read this again:

“The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

Really, the report’s findings aren’t surprising.  Anyone with half a brain knew that Joe Paterno either was either too old and diluted to know what was happening or that one of the most powerful figures in college sports was covering this putrid matter up.  Either way, for Paterno and his family it was all about legacy- continuing to build it and conspiring to maintain it.

And the other most important powers that be at Penn State conspired with him.

So it’s for this reason that I think Penn State should take a hiatus from college football, if not all collegiate sports.  This has nothing to do with NCAA and whether or not infractions were committed.  It has to do with doing what is right.

Football at the collegiate level (as with all other college sports) should be used to develop students and to prepare them to contribute to society in a positive way.  At Penn State, this was backwards.  The coaches and administrators were willing to use and sacrifice anybody so that they could remain in power.

The same group that allowed the bogus “Success with Honor” mantra to be perpetuated was allowing young boys to be molested and raped.  And they kept their mouths shut so that the cash cow wouldn’t be gored.  Their priorities and their perspective was wrong and an organization doesn’t get those things back by simply saying, “my bad” and by hiring another coach and athletics directors.  You get those things back by returning to the basics, by doing things that help to restore your thinking.  In this case, I think that can best be done by doing without football for a while.

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Paterno: “The very model of the moral ideal of Western humanism”

I guess you could say the rehabilitation of Joe Paterno has begun:

And that is only the beginning of the testimonies for Joe that will continue to swell all around the country.

When the hundreds of thousands of Penn State alumni hear the name JoePa, they think of moral leadership, of the kind of person they aspire to be. Of his warmth, his fatherliness, his steadiness, and his granite character. Joe Paterno was for hundreds of thousands of alumni the very model of the moral ideal of Western humanism. [Emphasis added]

I’m not exactly sure what that last sentence means, but I’m guessing Michael Novak thinks he’s a good dude. There’s more:

Then, quite suddenly in November 2011, with a huge national scandal erupting, the board suddenly acted as if the burden were on them. They did not weigh their own responsibility, their own inaction, their own failure to get to the bottom of the scandal of five months earlier. In a fit of what to many alumni seems to have been fear for themselves, the board’s members ducked their own responsibility, and in the most ignoble and impersonal way, made JoePa, the moral giant of Penn State, a moral outcast. [Emphasis added]

And more:

What rot — without a hearing, without talking to him man to man, without mentioning the honor and glory and unparalleled service JoePa had given to Penn State, bringing it to such great national eminence, including moral eminence. They dumped, as if in disgrace, an 85-year-old moral giant. JoePa raised the moral tone not only of Penn State, but of the whole, huge American college-football world. [Emphasis added]

There’s even more, but I think you get the point. Novak thinks Paterno is a moral giant. Well, maybe just one more:

There are not many coaches in America who read Virgil in Latin (and used to teach it), and who understand more deeply the ethical traditions of the West, both secular and religious, and who have proven so adept at teaching these codes to raw young football players, changing them for life and winning their undying loyalty. Ask Franco Harris. Ask hundreds of others.

Penn State faithful are no doubt in a state of shock. The Jerry Sandusky scandal has rocked the university to its core, and, on top of that, their iconic coach is not only sidelined, but now he’s dead. So, it’s not unexpected for their emotions to be high and their responses over the top. I think Novak’s qualifies as over the top.

It’s one thing to be a legendary coach who has been at a school for years, won more games than anyone else and has run a clean program. It’s quite another to be labeled the “model of the moral ideal of Western humanism.” Joe Paterno was a good coach, but not that good.

Time will eventually tell how the Sandusky scandal will effect Paterno’s legacy. Sandusky will be tried and I’m sure Penn State will be investigated in a variety of ways. Maybe after these things conclude Paterno’s legacy can be fairly judged.
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Urban Meyer Has a Fever…

When Urban Meyer checked out on the college football coaching profession, we were told it was because of wanting to spend more time with his family and because of health issues.

Perhaps that burning sensation has finally been diagnosed.

In this article by Jim Rapp, Meyer’s name is linked to three major programs:

  • Ohio State – “Urban Meyer has been connected to the Ohio State football program as a top-line coaching candidate practically since the moment Jim Tressel resigned on Memorial Day, and SportsRappUp.com has confirmed there is mutual interest.”
  • Penn State – “The source told SRU that school officials contacted Meyer Sept. 25 and expressed major interest in pursuing him as head coach should Paterno, in fact, decide to retire.”
  • Texas – “According to the source, Meyer also is very intrigued with the job at Texas, currently occupied by Mack Brown. The Longhorns have further secured themselves as an annual contender for the Big 12 crown, are inching closer to their own television network and enjoy conference consideration and major advantages in a recruit-rich area.”
The article also quotes a former Ohio State player, John Hicks, who appears to be asking the right questions:
“Here’s my thing with Urban: He didn’t go to Notre Dame (in late 2009) because of the academic requirements,” Hicks said. “He was coaching in a great football state with beautiful weather, more kids, less restrictions, a great conference. In Florida, they have spring football in high school – high school.  So why am I chasing a guy who walked away from a goldmine?
Good question, John.  Good question.

Week 2 Picks Review

8-2 for the week and 19-3 overall.  Here’s a recap:

Alabama 27, Penn State 11 [Prediction Alabama 17, Penn State 13] – The Tide plays turnover free ball and dominates the Nittany Lions.

Arkansas 52, New Mexico 3 [Prediction Arkansas 57, New Mexico 7] – The Razorbacks suffered several injuries, but have one more out-of-conference game before traveling to Tuscaloosa.

Auburn 41, Mississippi State 34 [Prediction Mississippi State 31, Auburn 24] – Can we finally stop talking about this being “the year” for State?  Auburn looked much improved against State, but the defense still needs a lot of work.

LSU 49, Northwestern State 3 [Prediction LSU 50, Northwestern State 3] – Almost pegged this one exactly.

Ole Miss 42, Southern Illinois 24 [Prediction Ole Miss 34, Southern Illinois 10] – The Salukis outgained Ole Miss 420 to 315, but four turnovers doomed the upset bid.

Florida 39, UAB 0 [Prediction Florida 34, UAB 10] – The Gators rang up 300 yards rushing on the way to 512 yards of total offense.

South Carolina 45 Georgia 42 [Prediction South Carolina 31, Georgia 27] – A punt return for a touchdown, a pick six and a fumble returned for a touchdown doom the Dawgs.

Kentucky 27 Central Michigan 13 [Prediction Kentucky 21, Central Michigan 10] – Maybe UK’s been holding back these first two weeks to get ready for Louisville.

Tennessee 45, Tennessee 23 [Prediction Tennessee 38, Cincinnati 37] – Another impressive performance by Tyler Bray leads UT by the Bearcats.

Connecticut 24, Vanderbilt 23 – My preseason picks included Vandy winning this game.  I just don’t see it happening.

Week 2 Picks

Alabama 17, Penn State 13 – The Crimson Tide does just enough to hold off the Nittany Lions.

Arkansas 57, New Mexico 7 – The second in a string of three cupcakes for the Hogs leading up to Bama.

Mississippi State 31, Auburn 24 – Auburn will rally late again, but this time it won’t be enough.

LSU 50, Northwestern State 3 – Yawn.

Ole Miss 34, Southern Illinois 10 – BYU wasn’t a bad team and Ole Miss will get better.

Florida 34, UAB 10 – UAB isn’t a total cupcake, but the Gators should be too much for the Blazers.

South Carolina 31, Georgia 27 – No, Georgia, the sky isn’t falling, it only feels like it.

Kentucky 21, Central Michigan 10 – Lost in last week’s laugher against Western Kentucky was a decent performance by the Wildcat defense.  The Cats should win again, but could make it look ugly.

Tennessee 38, Cincinnati 37 – UT should have just enough offense to take care of the Bearcats.

Connecticut 24, Vanderbilt 23 – My preseason picks included Vandy winning this game.  I just don’t see it happening.

Thoughts on the QB Situation Before Penn State

The Alabama Crimson Tide will roll into State College, Pa. this weekend to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State.  Each team will enter the game with their own quarterback “controversy.”

The Lions have sophomore Rob Bolden and junior Matt McGloin battling for the top job, while the Tide has freshman Phillip Sims and sophomore AJ Mcarron battling.  Odds are that both teams will play two quarterbacks on Saturday.

Coach Nick Saban has gone to great lengths this week to ensure that the QB race at Alabama is not over, despite McCarron appearing to outplay Sims against Kent State:

“We’re gonna continue to develop both of the quarterbacks that we have,” Saban said. “… Later in the week, as we see how the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game or if there’s some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us. We’ll look at the option of doing that.”

I believe the QB battle will be on-going through most of the season, as Saban’s comment above indicates.

But I’m not so sure that we’ll see the same QB rotation that we saw against Kent State.  It may be that the battle rages during practice, and that two quarterbacks do play in most games, but the allocation of playing time is decided based upon performance at practice.

I think the statement above gives Saban some wiggle room to do that:

Later in the week, as we see how the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game or if there’s some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us.

It was pretty plain to see in the Kent State game that the Tide’s offensive momentum stalled once Sims entered the game.  I don’t think Saban will do that against Penn State.  I think it’s more likely that the starting quarterback will play as long as he has a hot hand, with a minimum of about three series, and then the other would play.

Sims and McCarron are young players and could possibly battle for the top job for three seasons.  I think coach Saban understands that he’s dealing with a tricky situation and I think he’s handling it in a way that will spur competition while keeping the second-teamer involved and encouraged.