Sports Fodder: Penn State sanctions not enough
July 27, 2012
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .
The NCAA didn’t go far enough with its punishment of Penn State. The four-year bowl game ban, the $60 million fine and the reduction of scholarships are all fair penalties for the ugliness Penn State allowed to take place over the past 15 years. But the NCAA should have taken the punishment a step further and also suspended Penn State football for a season. Penn State doesn’t deserve any more attention over the coming months and the NCAA doesn’t need Penn State to be in the public eye right now.
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The NCAA never does anything the right way completely even when they have all of the facts and public opinion on their side. The NCAA has, in effect, declared all Penn State players free agents. Other schools have already started to contact and recruit Penn State players. Running back Silas Redd reportedly was going to meet with USC coach Lane Kiffin (is it any shock that Kiffin would be one of the first coaches to contact a Penn State player?) on Thursday. Opposing coaches are now picking at the corpse that is Penn State football. And you can blame the NCAA. They should have suspended Penn State football for a year while all of this ugly recruiting takes place.
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The only punishment the NCAA dumped on Penn State that doesn’t make sense is taking away Joe Paterno’s victories since 1998. This situation had absolutely nothing to do with the games on the field and taking away Paterno’s victories and his NCAA record for career victories is petty and childish. It accomplishes nothing. Does anybody really believe that Bobby Bowden now holds the record for Division I-A victories? Bowden doesn’t even believe it. The NCAA has created a fake record that nobody believes is true. Do you think the coach that passes Bowden is going to celebrate his so-called record? Paterno and the Penn State players won those games fair and square on the field.
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The Freeh Report stated that Penn State was guilty of having a “culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community,” that they had “a president who discouraged discussions and dissent” and that the university had “a desire to avoid bad publicity.” And this makes them different from every other Division I university how? You would hope that the Penn State situation would make every other university in the country take a good, long look in the mirror. But we know better.
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Hanley Ramirez going to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a bag of rotten oranges and a Mickey Mouse hat with “Hanley” embroidered on the front is everything that is wrong with major league baseball. Former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who once wouldn’t allow Charlie Finley to see Vida Blue, Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers, never would have allowed such a transaction. But Bud Selig seems to encourage it, especially when it benefits a big market team or a new ownership group like the Dodgers. Teams giving up on the season in July and selling off their assets is baseball’s version of the estate sale after Grandpa dies.
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Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan did absolutely nothing wrong when he stated on a Dallas-area radio show this week that Josh Hamilton isn’t focused and patient at the plate and has a tendency to give away at-bats. And, oh yeah, he also said he never saw Hank Aaron give away an at-bat. First of all, not being compared favorably to Aaron is not a sin. Aaron, after all, just might be the best hitter in baseball history. And Hamilton would be wise to take what Ryan said to heart. There’s nothing wrong with a team president pointing out some flaws in one of his player’s approach at the plate, especially when that president is a Hall of Fame player himself.
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The LSU football program recently gave a scholarship offer to a child that is about to enter eighth grade this fall. Washington recently gave an offer to a high school freshman quarterback. If you feel that Penn State is the only university that has an unhealthy reverence for football, well, you probably spend your weekends emptying kegs of beer at 8 a.m. and painting your face and belly. College sports is out of control and Penn State is just one example.
Joe Santoro is a freelance writer for the Sierra Nevada Media Group.