Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Penn State Football: Is This The Feeding Frenzy the NCAA Wished For?

Is this what the NCAA intended last year when, as part of the NCAA sanctions announced a year ago, they reduced scholarships for Penn State football by 20 scholarships per year for four years, and they allowed current Penn State football players to leave for other schools without penalty?

Fortunately many of the schools represented here in this mascot collection exercised restraint last summer on recruiting current PSU football players, and the one school that did not, Illinois, does not have a mascot so is not in these photos.  Chief Illiniwek, now gone, was never a mascot.  He was a spirit, I was told when I tried to acquire one the first time Penn State played Illinois in Champaign.

 Photos by Carolyn M. Todd.  All Rights Reserved.

Sure looks like the NCAA wanted a recruiting picnic full of mayhem that would cripple if not destroy Penn State forever.   A feeding frenzy of sorts.

And even if none of these schools pictured here directly tried to destroy Penn State, they are in fact represented on the NCAA Board and Executive Committee that discussed, approved and authorized the sanctions announced by Dr. Mark Emmert on the basis of a management advisory opinion piece called the Freeh Report rather than follow its own investigation rules.

Fortunately, few players transferred, thanks to the quick thinking leadership of the 2012 football team senior leaders, and the fact that the new coaching staff at Penn State, led by Coach Bill O'Brien, had earned the team's respect.

However, with 80 scholarships gone over the next four years, I can't help but think that Penn State's ability to be competitive over time, even with the most brilliant coaching staff around, will be crippled.

The feeding frenzy might not be so dramatic as it was last summer, but if nothing is done about these draconian scholarship reductions, sanctions that are particularly punitive to current students and players who had nothing to do with Sandusky's criminal behavior, it will be felt over time.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Penn State Football: On Losing Your Voice When It Comes to Sandusky

Media critic John Ziegler had it right in his newly published online book, "The Betrayal of Joe Paterno", which I recommend that you access here at his website www.framingpaterno.com.  In Chapter 5, entitled "The Firing", Ziegler describes the late night decision of the Board of Trustees to fire Joe Paterno via cell phone at 10 p.m., and then the ensuing "riot" downtown after it became known.

This riot of a few thousand people who were downtown when they heard the news consisted of a trash can fire and the toppling of a news van that created serious damage to the van.  But because all the national media were present, the images became something much more like a full scale riot in the minds of the public.

Never mind that five times as many students turned out two days later for a candlelight vigil on the lawn of Old Main to pray for victims of child abuse, and students and alumni in the next several weeks also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for child abuse prevention causes at that Saturday's game and beyond.   That didn't get nearly the publicity or the press images.