Joe Nocera: Penn State Football "Death Penalty"

Friday, July 20, 2012

New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera talks about what the NCAA could and should do to address the problems outlined in the Freeh report about the Sandusky scandal.


Joe Nocera

Comments [21]

Art Vandelay

I am sure that the NCAA will do what will benefit the NCAA. The NCAA is all about the money just like these schools.
Ideally, Penn State should be stripped of all of its athletics programs.
Will the NCAA do it?
No. They would loose too much money.

Jul. 20 2012 01:28 PM
Amber Pinter from Fayetteville, Arkansas

If SMU can get the death penalty for pay to play and lack of institutional control -- how can anyone justify PSU NOT getting the death penalty for decades of enabling a child rapist with access to PSU sporting events and facilities, defying the Cleary Act, and obvious lack of institutional control?
NCAA death penalty both necessary and deserved.

Jul. 20 2012 12:04 PM

PSU Graduate classof 1958
Sports Illustrated Magazine had a LONG article on the PSU scandle a month or 2 ago which stated Paterno was a devout Catholic and very active in his Diocese. The Diocese had its own priest-pedophile scandle and an attempt was made to cover it up. the coverup failed and the article makes clear that Paterno knew all about it.

Jul. 20 2012 11:40 AM
Christina from Union Square

I'm a big football fan, being born and raised in Big 10 country. My husband works in collegiate athletics as a lawyer working at a university's athletic compliance department. This is something that we have talked about extensively (since his friends and colleagues know people at the NCAA and at Penn State).

I think imposing the death penalty would have a huge negative impact on the university but would punish far more than just the football program. There are so many students that could lose the ability to go to school at Penn State by virtue of their own athletic scholarship (swimmers, track runners, volleyball players) because football is such a revenue driver that funds their own scholarships.

The stance that my husband has (and many of his colleagues) is that what happened is a criminal issue, but not within the jurisdiction of the NCAA. If that happened, then Baylor should have had their basketball program shut down when Patrick Dennehy was murdered and the coach used his death as a cover up for his own indiscretions.

What ought to be done (IMO) is the revenue from Penn State football should be redirected towards molestation education and prevention. I do think that sport can be a remarkably healing event, but shutting down the program seems to a more drastic punishment that has bigger ramifications than people think.

Jul. 20 2012 11:26 AM
Mike from Tribeca

The guest host rambles on way too much and should be informed that there's a reason the show has guests.

Jul. 20 2012 11:25 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I'm not a football fan at all, but I don't think they should shut down the football program. Football is a sport, which is a good thing, but the university does have a responsbility to make sure that people who participate in the program don't place its importance over that of other human beings, current law and the outside world.

American society is complaining about obesity issues and sports are part of the prevention of obesity, so the fact that some individual human beings failed in their responsibility to other human beings doesn't mean we should cut out physical activity which is good for people.

The Penn State situation, I think, was a failure by individual human beings, and those people need to take responsibility for their sins of omission. Neither the school as a whole, nor the students, should be deprived of a football program because of it.

Jul. 20 2012 11:25 AM
Mary from UWS

Everyone who says to just shut down the program - do you realize how many other businesses will go out of business? Mostly hard working small biz owners in the area who depend on this school and the football program to make a living. This includes cafes, hotels, B&B's, shops, services, etc. Families will lose their livelihoods and homes. It would be a great hardship for the whole community, not just the football team or the players. The domino affect would be catastrophic for the whole State College, PA community.

Jul. 20 2012 11:24 AM

Sorry Bob, I thought i could assume that all here knew which Uni' we're talking about.

Jul. 20 2012 11:24 AM

this caller is whack!
It happened on Penn State property!
Penn State employees were accessories for seeing and not saying anything.

Jul. 20 2012 11:22 AM
Bob from Westchester, NY

To RL -- just for clarity, "Penn" is the University of Pennsylvania, a private university in Philadelphia with an Ivy League sports program --NOT the institution involved here. That institution is the Pennsylvania State University, known as "Penn State", a public university located in State College,PA.

Jul. 20 2012 11:21 AM
Stephen from Manhattan

Joe Nocera is right. The Penn State football program deserves the death penalty for at least a year. That may be the only way to deliver a clear message to colleges and university everywhere that there are things that are infinitely more important than football. ... Papa Joe? The reports are that he died of lung cancer. Perhaps shame was the real cause.

Jul. 20 2012 11:20 AM
Joel from Nyack

My daughter is a Penn State graduate and received an excellent education there. Too many are ready to paint the entire university with the broad brush of condemnation. This is unfair. It is also unfair to shut down the football program which provides opportunities for many students to attend a program that has emphasized academics for many years. This is not to excuse the behavior of Paterno, etc. They should be condemned for their behavior but don't punish the program and the university.

Jul. 20 2012 11:19 AM
Juni from NYC

Joe, what about the Catholic church hierarchy covering up the ongoing molestation and rape of children? Should we shut down churches? (Football is just another religion... ;)

Jul. 20 2012 11:18 AM
Lauren from Bed-Stuy

I think you should be very clear that shutting down the program temporarily is not PUNISHMENT for the people are there. That's like saying a healthier diet or exercise is punishment for an overweight person. It is about protecting the community and forcing the community to reorganize its priorities and relationship to the university. No???

Jul. 20 2012 11:18 AM
Evan S. Cowit

Also, the current players won't be punished. They can transfer to other schools without having to sit out a year.

Jul. 20 2012 11:17 AM
Evan S. Cowit

I am a University of Michigan grad and big football fan, but it's time to shut the PSU program down. The NCAA always cites "lack of institutional control" when assessing penalties. If that's grounds for penalties, how can excessive institutional control, in service of a cover up, not be?

As an aside, I've heard people say that the statute should either be turned upside down with Paterno's head in the sand or leave the statue but burn his eyes out,

Jul. 20 2012 11:16 AM

Dismantle the football program and have it suspended for around 10 years to wean the university off this drug. All current football scholarships should be converted to grants without strings.

Jul. 20 2012 11:15 AM
Jay F.

Sure players would be hurt if the program shut down... But the penalty will be the loss of $$$ for Penn State.

Jul. 20 2012 11:15 AM
Josh from Washington Heights

They will never shut the program down because it's all about the MONEY!!!

Jul. 20 2012 11:13 AM

NYU ended its basketball program for a much smaller offense (point shaving). Penn should end their football program without being told to. One year is not enough. It should be 4 years, so that all around now will have graduated before they are allowed to start over.

Jul. 20 2012 11:10 AM
Brenda from New York City

I'm looking forward to hearing Mr. Nocera's take on lessons learned from a sport point of view. I'm hoping that broadly, what we all are learning is that "minding one's business" is not a laudable character trait. When children are at risk we must be a bit more intrusive and audible.

Jul. 20 2012 07:34 AM

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