Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Penn State, the NCAA and the future of collegiate sports

NCAA boss won't rule out death penalty for Penn St - Houston Chronicle:" In a PBS interview Monday night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said he doesn't want to "take anything off the table" if the NCAA determines penalties against Penn State are warranted."


That this is even being voiced by the NCAA is a signal that, behind the scenes, some serious players are deeply unhappy with what Penn State has done for college football. And with good reason. Raise your hand if you think that Jerry Sandusky was the only pedophile ever involved in college athletics. I thought so. There are Forces Beyond Reckoning that see the potential disaster for all collegiate sports if something isn't done. JoePa's death did not close the book on the situation; the latest revelations have made sure of that. Otherwise, supporters could with a straight face say, "Who are you kidding?! These charges drove JoePa to his grave, isn't that enough!?"

Forces Beyond Reckoning see millions of dollars at stake. Forces Beyond Reckoning are willing to sacrifice a college and a conference to save the entire eco-system. Yes, it would kill Penn State's program as surely as it killed SMU's, and yes, it would probably put a serious dent in the Big Whatever --at least until they bit the bullet and gave Notre Dame what it wants in terms of revenue sharing. But to do nothing would to be invite worse things later on. More scandals. Lawsuits. The legislature! Falling ratings!!!

The NCAA is going to crucify Penn State. They have no choice: if they don't consider this a "lack of institutional control" then they lose all legitimacy. And there is the vicious rub. Because the NCAA is about as far from a legitimate body as you can get. Never mind all that money that somehow built Cam Newton's daddy's church, and never mind how long they knew about Reggie Bush's family's perks before doing something about it, nothing truly bad happened to Auburn or to USC. And we can go back further without any real stretching.

And the truly sad thing is that this could have been the opportunity for a big-time school to say, "Screw you, NCAA! We're withdrawing and forming a new league and taking the big boys with us and now we won't have to play Twister-on-Acid to abide by the rules!" But under these circumstances, that cannot happen. To the contrary, by going for the death penalty here, the NCAA will make itself look stronger and even more legitimate in the eyes of the public.

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