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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Splat-ter of the Week (Weekend Edition...again): The NCAA

Once again we're a little slow with the Splat-ter of The Week.  Splatsopheric has begun to rival Congress in terms of summer inertia.

Olympic fever seems to have taken hold of the splatosphere just like the rest of the world, because this  week's news produced an unusually fierce competition for top dishonors.  (We won't mention any of the also-rans in case we get desperate for material next week and need to use one of them.)

Much as we try to keep things light here, we simply can't this week because the topic is far too serious.  We give the prize, such as it is, to the NCAA for what it didn't do as it addressed the Penn State football scandal.

As most people know, Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was convicted earlier this month of molesting ten boys over a period of fifteen years.  Our society and the law acted swiftly and put Sandusky behind bars; however, no punishment has the power to redress the wrongs Sandusky committed or to repair the lives he destroyed.

In a development almost as appalling as the crimes themselves, a recent investigation conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh (at the behest of the Penn State Board of Trustees) adduced evidence that then-Head Coach Joe Paterno and Penn State leadership knew about allegations of inappropriate behavior by Sandusky as early as 1998 but failed to act on them.

The issuance of the Freeh report spurred the NCAA, a non-profit organization that regulates collegiate athletics, to vacate Penn State's wins from 1998-2011, ban the school from bowl games for four years and fine it $60 million, among other sanctions.

We know many Penn State alums take issue with these penalties and/or believe the NCAA overreached but we are not among them.  Human lives are, and always will be, more important than sports.  But we're astonished that the NCAA has failed to use the Penn State scandal --the most heinous collegiate athletic scandal to date --as a mandate to examine itself.  As an organization, the NCAA has proven inept at regulating college sports in a way that detects and deters systemic ethical failures.  So far, we haven't heard a word about what it's doing to fix that.


  1. I'm with you. It seems as though the biggest defenders of Penn State in the scandal are alumni. What difference should it make?

    1. Agreed! I can't bring myself to defend much about how the school handled this episode.