The NCAA Ruling and the Victims

July 24, 2012 at 9:15 am 15 comments

Kristen Houser of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

With the flurry of emotions and opinions surrounding Monday’s NCAA announcement, PCAR’s Kristen Eisenbraun Houser ’93 is focused on the victims’ perspective. The sanctions, says Houser, will be a “catalyst for change not just at Penn State, but nationwide.” She talked with us about the NCAA’s ruling and what it means for all victims of child sexual abuse.

What message does the NCAA send to survivors of child sexual abuse with the sanctions against Penn State?

There are several important messages. First off, using the $60 million fine to endow services is the most appropriate thing that could have been done. It’s a phenomenal gesture to begin an endowment of that size, and that speaks volumes. The NCAA is recognizing a national problem of great scope, and the need for victims’ services should be first and foremost.

Dr. [Mark] Emmert’s statements were very much on target with conversations we’ve been having in the PCAR office. The sanctions send a strong message that protecting human dignity and safety trumps sport, period.

I’ve been very frustrated that the recent conversation has been about football, statues, and ice cream flavors. Those are distractions. If the alumni and fans would spend a third of the time talking about prevention, it would take us so far, so much closer to where we need to be. I think there are many alumni feeling a sense of personal betrayal, and we’re seeing people react out of anger. I can understand that, but well, gosh, if you feel that way as a alum, imagine how it feels to victims to hear the conversation focus on football.

Part of the NCAA’s goal is to promote a culture change at Penn State. How well do you think these “corrective measures” will work?

I do think culture change is possible. The NCAA raised the bar and put in place some supports and protections that will be very effective, especially the third-party oversight. Some of the change is already happening. Coach O’Brien reached out to PCAR in May—on his own—wanting to talk about ways the football program can work with us. He sees the need for that and recognizes the difficult issue of loyalty. You absolutely need loyalty among players, but loyalty to the team is about making sure we’re all holding each other accountable for being decent human beings. The new leadership has been talking about this shift of perspective for months.

Could that shift signal cultural change nationwide?

Absolutely. We know the University of Michigan and Temple are already implementing changes. Since this case broke, other major universities have realized, “We really better think about this stuff.” What’s happening at Penn State has inspired other institutions to have a plan in place, and I think as Penn State begins to change and improve, perhaps we will emerge as a leader.

For victims of child abuse who are following this case, could these harsh sanctions against Penn State feel like a victory?

I don’t know that any of this is a victory. It’s one level of tragedy on top of another. Some people may feel a sense of validation in the punishment, and that may feel positive. But I feel like what’s happening is, our country is trying to paint everything into one or two boxes. Joe Paterno was good, or Joe Paterno was evil. Penn State football is good, or it’s evil.

Whenever you have the masses setting up an all-or-nothing situation, it maintains an environment that’s hostile for victims to come forward. A victim’s experience is, “I want the abuse to stop, I want them to be accountable for their actions, but I care for this person.” So when the rest of us insist, “You have to hate this person,” we’re not leaving space for what survivors experience to be real. We have to accept that there is more than one side.

So, Penn State football is not good or bad?

Football culture is not terrible. It can be really wonderful; it’s a community identity, it brings communities together, it’s a mutual celebration. There’s great camaraderie in that. We need to be able to hold multiple truths at once. That’s how life is. Life is many, many shades of gray. If we’re going to insist people are all good or all bad, then that’s what offenders want. It allows them to operate under the “good” label while doing horrible things.

What would you say to people who think the punishment is too severe? 

That’s OK. This isn’t going to make people happy. But what I heard Emmert saying was, the errors were so egregious that they deserve strong punishment and strong motivation to change. We have to remember, too, that if you’re not a victim of child sexual abuse, it’s difficult to grasp the complete destruction it brings to your soul, the people who love you, your ability to have relationships, your ability to excel in life. Victims are so permanently damaged by sexual abuse.

If Sandusky is the stereotypical pedophile he appears to be, there are probably hundreds of other victims, at his hands, who are watching this thing play out and who understand the severity and devastation of what happened here. 

How can alumni express their own sadness without forgetting about or belittling the victims’ pain?

I don’t think our culture lets us grieve, and this is something to grieve over. This is loss. It’s the loss of a part of our identity, loss of something we believed in, a violation of trust. Those are significant, painful things. It’s OK to be sad, angry, grief-stricken, and to sit with that. That’s the appropriate reaction.

Another way to cope is to get involved. There are rape crisis centers, child-protection organizations, youth-serving groups all over the country. People have opportunities to make a difference through donations, volunteering their time, by going through a training to work with survivors. People feel so outraged and want to be part of the solution, and you can do that anywhere in this country.

So, helping prevent abuse can be healing.

I think it can. The other thing that helps is just communication. Social media gives us an opportunity to come together, but sometimes it’s difficult to have constructive conversations when there are very angry, outspoken, polarizing voices. I would encourage people to set up your own email list with friends, coworkers, people sharing the same feelings, and simply start a conversation. It’s healthy to talk about what you’re feeling and what you’d like to do about it. Trying to figure out how to facilitate the grieving process is important, and it’s the first step in moving forward.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

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Some Historical Perspective on the NCAA Sanctions A Few Words From Ed Rendell …

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melissa Lee Brannen  |  July 24, 2012 at 10:14 am

    PSU football has been a partner with the educational side in promoting the University and making it a true community. In all other respects the University has been a model for putting education first while having a great football program. Joe Paterno was a big part of championing education regardless of how you feel about him and his role in this horrible abuse case.

    The State College community is reeling from what has happened that can be attributed to the evil of one man and the very bad decisions of a few others in high positions. We are hurting enough and paying for their actions already.

    These sanctions are just over the top. Why not let the football team play in Bowl Games and donate the proceeds to organizations that prevent and help victims of child abuse? A friend pointed out that this would dwarf the $60,000,000 fine and do far more good. The football team can have the goal of winning to help the children and rally around the cause. There are so many ways to affect change positively.

    How many players will not have a scholarship now? Women’s sports are supported by PSU football. In this economy with so many cuts, how will they be supported? How many businesses are going to be punished for the next four years who depend on football season revenue. How about the housing market in State College that in part depends on sales of “football homes”?

    The individuals who made the bad decisions need to be punished severely when the legal system confirms their culpibility, not the entire University population and Community. Our community will never forget the victims and fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Our naivety has been stripped away and we are aware that evil can happen in any community and that we must be vigilant and proactive. The NCAA is overstepping its bounds and should let the legal system do its job.

    Overall, the PSU community culture is a thing to be admired. It is rich in the arts, puts education first and has an amazing network of charitable organizations and volunteers. I’ve never seen a community so willing to step up and help the people around them. PSU is a University focused on fundraising and service to the community members that need help. I am proud Penn State.

  • 2. Robert Martin (Class of 69)  |  July 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

    First let me say, for purposes of clarity, that the acts of Mr. Sandusky warrant much worse in the way of punishment then what was actually meted out so far. As well, the members of the PSU bureaucracy at the highest levels, during the years of these outrages, should be punished or in some way severely sanctioned, including of course Joe Paterno, for their acts of gross negligence.
    Having said that, PSU is an extraordinary institution crafted by its incredible heritage, but at the same time only a creature of its current leadership. In fact it is no better or worse than the quality of its Leadership at any point in time. This horrible circumstance of serial child abuse was in many ways a creation of a profoundly weak leadership of the University at the time, and by the way, a Leadership weakness that continues to this day!
    The NCAA has chosen to punish – not the perpetrators of this outrage, which is the result of the weakest of Leadership at the highest levels of the University, but the very body and soul of the Institution. The NCAA has, in their zeal to punish the most high profile “target” of opportunity for what I believe are in part political reasons, chosen to punish the students, the current sports program, the Alumni, the very essence of the University, and the town of State College, instead of the true enablers of the crimes of Jerry Sandusky – the then Management and Trustees of Pennsylvania State University. The NCAA has in their infinite wisdom chosen to punish with unprecedented sanctions, all the wrong parties!
    And not surprisingly, PSU’s existing management has acquiesced to what is clearly the NCAA’s lack of understanding of what they are in fact accomplishing – the long term destruction of a great University. And all the politically correct platitudes cannot cover up this irrational goal of the punishment. In many ways the NCAA is using PSU as a means of covering up its own profound lapses in leadership over the years.
    The Alumni and Students of PSU need to fight back!!!

  • 3. Eric Roberts  |  July 24, 2012 at 11:09 am

    The only people complaining about the sanctions are those affiliated with Penn State, past and present. And from an outsider’s point-of-view, it seems that every attempt to argue against the sanctions is really a cover for complaining about how this will hurt the football program.

    I really don’t see how the students are punished. Is it because most students went to Penn State because of the football program? If so, shame on you. The NCAA didn’t take away your ability to get a quality education.

    I don’t think the economic impact will be as bad as everyone is trying to make it out to be either. The NCAA is allowing football to continue. The stadium will still sell out, even while the team struggles to rebuild itself.

    I am so sick of the whining on the part of the Penn State community about this. It was frankly disgusting to see photographs of some of student’s faces yesterday when they were hearing the sanctions for the first time. Why? Because your precious football team will not be competitive for the next 5-10 years. Boo hoo. If you really care so much about football, transfer to a different school. But please, quit trying to disguise your football sadness by creating more victims than the ones that were truly victimized. It is pathetic.

  • 4. Melissa Lee Brannen  |  July 24, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Dear Mr. Roberts,

    My comments are as a transplant to State College from Pittsburgh. I went to one PSU football game in the 7 years that I’ve lived here. Football is not that important to me and never will be. However, it is clear to me football has been something that has always brought together intellectuals, artists, sports fanatics, educators, students and businesses alike. The people that you lump together that disgust you are good people who are upset not just because of football, but afraid that they are going to lose this wonderful sense of community that football has helped build.

    The spirit of coming together has trickled into all other aspects of our community. The alumni who come back for football games donate to our local causes, they support our theatres, they increase our tourism and most of all they create excitement that isn’t just about football. These same people that you condemn and ridicule are the force that raised over $10 Million dollars for the Four Diamonds Fund just last year, providing financial relief for families facing a life-threatening illness. Ask the Special Olympics how they feel about Penn State? Involvement in so many charities has been encouraged by the football program. The PSU brand helps incite passion in other causes too.

    I think that you are right. You are an outsider and can’t understand because you can only see one small sliver that the media presents to you.

    -Melissa Brannen

  • 5. Eric Roberts  |  July 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Don’t talk to me as if I don’t know what it is like to be a part of a community. I am a college graduate, twice over, and I love college sports just as much as the next person. My school has also meant a great deal to its community and has given back to it.

    Penn State football is not going away and neither is State College. The school are being penalized in the short term for an egregious act by people in a position of authority. Unfortunately, their are people there who will suffer who had no part in this cover-up. To me, this situation is no different than corporations that break the law. The corporation suffers as a whole, including its employees, and any beneficiary of that corporation suffers as well. Sure, Penn State and its football program have done many wonderful things for the community, but that doesn’t mean the institution does not deserve punishment. Anyone with an unbiased opinion could see that.

    I am looking at this as a father of a 2 year old boy. Not your perspective, and certainly not the media’s. I am intelligent enough to form my own opinions from the fact’s presented to me. And from where I am sitting, it would seem that the people there just can’t grasp the magnitude of what happened and are still in denial.

  • 6. Lori  |  July 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    What about how the victims feel about these punishments. Some have come out saying they love Penn State football and are upset about the sanctions. No one bothered to ask them about their feelings. I can only imagine that some of them are now feeling some guilt over what has transpired over the past few days. That doesn’t seem to help their healing, only compound their pain.

  • 7. Melissa Lee Brannen  |  July 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I’m sorry, but there are ways that this could have been handled that would not have hurt so many not involved and raised more awareness and dollars for victims of sexual abuse. I would always choose ways to move forward in ways that are positive to affect change. This is just kicking innocent people when they’re already down. I never knew what it was like to have really community support until I arrived here. Happy Valley is someplace special and I want to protect it.

    My perspective is coming from a community member and the mother of two teenage girls. They are living in this community and I want it to be the best for them. They have had parents who have experienced job loss and were able to rebound because of opportunities afforded by the community. We need a healthy community economically and socially for our families. We are a University town largely cut-off from other industry and the health of the University is instrumental to our livelihoods. How would you feel if you lost your job and weren’t able to support your two year old because of a handful of people who handled things that you had no control of? We have already been “punished” enough. I have already seen first-hand people affected by this even before these sanctions. Changes were aggressively being made already without the sanctions.

    I do understand the magnitude of this, but I am sickened by mob justice aimed at whoever the media tells us it should be aimed at. Continue to put all the spotlight on the evil of our football program instead of pedophiles and out-of-touch high level officials who turned a blind-eye to evil to prevent scandal. You cannot define our culture by the actions of a few men. If you’d like to continue to be a part of the witch hunt, go ahead. We will just agree to disagree.

  • 8. Laurie  |  July 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    ‎..Congratulations to Mark Emmert and the NCAA! You have successfully managed to do what no other legal agency in this country could! You have made decisions without due process, undermined any chain of command leading up to your penalties, bypassed rules and guidelines that even our own President Obama could not do without following proper legal channels first, and made decisions without doing a fair–legal and proper investigation on your own! You made a haste decision for your own personal gain as a direct result of the PUBLIC JUDGE AND JURY. Lastly, and most importantly, if you are going to penalize a program based solely on the OPINIONS of another individual, make sure you actually READ THE ENTIRE REPORT FIRST instead of claiming “IT WAS TOO LONG AND YOU TRUST WHAT IS IN THE REPORT TO BE TRUTHFUL”

    If the NCAA is going to proceed with any form of respect in the future, here are some recommendations: HOW ABOUT PENALIZING THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE, INSTEAD OF FINDING FAULT WITH A DIVISION THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE INFRACTION IN THE FIRST PLACE! While we all agree that the LEADERS of the INSTITUTION and NOT the FOOTBALL PROGRAM made ill fated decisions at the time, the great majority of us who actually KNOW how a business works, know that those in a position to make authoritative decisions, do so based on what’s best for the INSTITUTION AS A WHOLE and NOT AN individual department. — in this case the FOOTBALL PROGRAM. Just because Paterno was informed about those decisions, does NOT directly link it to FOOTBALL. Paterno was a large icon for the University as well as a leader. He was not JUST a FOOTBALL COACH. THose of you who actually wish to MAKE THIS ABOUT FOOTBALL because of his presence with the University and team for so long, need to go back to Kindergarten and understand the concept of HONOR AND RESPECT. Joe Paterno managed to do things the RIGHT way for SO LONG, and in doing so became a man whom people looked upon for advice and wisdom. That’s the true definition of a man’s character.

    What the NCAA has done and we have ALLOWED them to do, makes very little sense to me as a United States Citizen of 44 years. While I do not claim to be the most intelligent person on the planet— I only possess an Aerospace Engineering Degree from one of the top schools in this COUNTRY (PENN STATE), I do consider myself a rational and diplomatic person when it comes to making decisions and passing judgement. At a much lower level and perhaps the most beneficial, I’ve also attended Elementary, secondary and HIGH SCHOOL whereby was taught the proper way to penalize someone with full respect to our ENTIRE LEGAL SYSTEM and levels of government. What we in society have done, in the most calculated way, was make this entire thing ABOUT FOOTBALL! I can think of no better way to INSULT the victims of Sandusky! Instead of channeling our anger toward the REAL problem in our society, we’ve made every attempt to destroy all that was GOOD. Sandusky is a SICK MAN, there’s no doubting that. What went wrong as a WHOLE, that lead a grown man to make such horrible decisions, and somehow get away with it for so long? We have programs within our government, as well as institutions that have been put in place to make sure that people like Sandusky cannot keep doing this to our children! Last I checked, football was not to blame for this SICKNESS and CRIMINAL ACTIVITY! It has NOT enabled him either. We have countless agencies of government that tried to put that SOB away in 1998 and COULDN”T…. Several psychologists went on record after the first victim came forth many years prior to the INCIDENT AND DECISION AT PENN STATE. Might I add that many of you would realize this if you just TOOK TIME TO ACTUALLY DO YOUR RESEARCH instead of allowing yourself to be mislead by our extremely RELIABLE MEDIA! Chapter 2 of the FREEH report clearly documents how many government agencies and people within the FBI—FAILED MISERABLY! The Great GOVERNOR OF PA–CORBETT even had a hand in dismissing the charges against SANDUSKY on two occasions. Why isn’t our anger being drawn toward THEM? The agencies created to deal with and make calculated decisions regarding the health and welfare of our children, FAILED THESE VICTIMS! Where’s the media and public outcry to have THEM investigated and punished to the extreme? I’m not sure about Paterno’s contract with Penn State FOOTBALL, but I doubt anywhere within the guidelines, that we will see it was was his moral and legal responsibility and obligation to do the job of the FBI and CHILD WELFARE DEPARTMENT! If I were a betting person, I believe its was also safe to say that there wasn’t a caveat stating: IF YOU FAIL TO DO SO, you will be penalized in the most UNIMAGINABLE WAY!!!

    So then, it brings me to Penn State and it’s football program…. after all, it was because of FOOTBALL, Sandusky victimized so many boys..! We couldn’t possibly hold Sandusky accountable for these horrific crimes. If Penn State officials made one ill fated decision NOT to report an incident PROPERLY–thereby leading to the destruction of so many lives, then how in the world do we condemn THEM without also taking a real hard look at our OWN child protective services that have ALSO failed our children. I guess we have no answers so we will destroy a reputable foundation and program just to make ourselves FEEL BETTER about a situation that’s OUT OF OUR CONTROL! We have all been taught that our government knows what’s best for us and never to imply that it has faults.

    The end result of this entire debacle, is the focus we now have on FOOTBALL and it’s power within an institution. SInce we continue to want to make it ALL ABOUT THE VICTIMS, we have continue down the path to destroy MORE lives as a result. The victims sole purpose of coming forward was to put Sandusky AWAY and allow him to pay for his crimes. We as SOCIETY wish to meet our OWN injustice by making every attempt to tear down one of the most reputable institutions and football programs in this COUNTRY. By doing so, we will not only destroy more lives than Sandusky, but take away jobs, education, and an economy in State College, that has thrived on this Institution. What we have done in the process, is given more power to SPORTS and the NCAA than they’ve had in years gone by.

    We are victimizing people for our own benefits while the REAL villain was prosecuted within the GUIDELINES OF THE LAW. He sits in prison without any remorse, and will collect his 5 grand a month in PENSION. We are destroying the Paterno family while giving the Sandusky family the privacy they deserve.

    I’d like for myself, to hear the NCAA RESTATE their justifications for all of the anger and PUNISHMENT OF PENN STATE FOOTBALL, based on their OWN calculated LEGAL and PROPER investigation. Only THEN, WILL it MAKE ANY SENSE! Then again, I already know that there will be no answers. His own university is corrupt with respect to it’s football team, is PROBABLY at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to graduation of it’s football players, has had multiple infractions within it’s football program over the past, and lastly: does things like every other good ole boy INSTITUTION “BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE DOeS IT AND GETS AWAY WITH IT”

    Penn State has always done things the right way and will continue to do so even after being publicly humiliated. They have the second highest graduation rate of all time among football players— all of it under Joe Paterno. Yet the motivation for the NCAA to penalize them is to somehow state that the only thing the school has cared about during Paterno’s era, was WINS AND LOSSES. Really? When was the last time they won a championship? When was the last time you heard Joe Paterno discuss his RECORD in a positive manner. When was the last time a library was named for the football coach and NOT the football stadium? I believe if you are going to penalize a program based on THAT CONCEPT alone, the entire SEC conference would be shut down. Penn State commit any violation that influenced wins and losses on the field. They have never in HISTORY had a violation of any kind with respect to football and eligibility (SECOND ONLY TO STANFORD). The nation’s jealousy and that of the President of the NCAA, lead to the attempt to destroy PSU and it’s football program. As an alumni, I’m proud to be a part of the Penn State world. Football is NOT the definition of our SCHOOL and it is NOT the foundation of our PRIDE. Without football, THE SCHOOL WOULD STILL FUNCTION TO THE HIGHEST HONOR! I have little doubt that the REAL villains in all of this scandal will be unveiled one day soon after Sandusky is sentenced and STARTS TALKING! I’ll just bet he’s got a great deal to add WITH RESPECT to the corruption in the REAL WORLD and NOT place blame with Penn State or it’s football program. Until then, EACH SATURDAY the world will have 106 thousand reasons to believe that every attempt they made to bring down Penn State— HAS FAILED. WE ARE PENN STATE and Penn State to those of us who believed in all that is good, will never be anything other than the source of our high standard of character. We have the largest living alumni in this country and will bond together as a family during the good times and the bad. We will remain stronger than ever .. because we were taught the CORRECT way to LIVE and not conform to the CORRUPT ONE!

  • 9. Melissa Lee Brannen  |  July 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Well said Laurie!! You just made me want to cheer!

  • 10. Kyle  |  July 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I just cannot understand how reducing scholarships or taking wins away will help the victims of this awfulness. Can ANYONE please explain the
    connection or relevance

  • 11. Greg  |  July 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Laurie. YOU are 100% spot on. Couldn’t of had communicated this any better, myself. Your writing needs to be published more widely, so people realize that what has been judged thus far, is only a small piece of a larger story.

  • 12. lex  |  July 24, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Laurie, you hit pretty much everything right on the spot. The NCAA bypassed all guidelines and bylaws and made a rash decision as everyone has so far in this entire mess. The NCAA said they have never had to deal with a situation like this before and yet it was the quickest decision they have ever made based off of an independent investigation that the “trusted” BOT hired. Who knows what information Freeh was allowed to read or investigate, who knows if the direction that he was led to was the right direction in the first place. He never interviewed the Paterno family and the 20,000+ that he reviewed documents could have had a lot more information that was kept out of the report. As far as Paterno goes, there was one email that has the media in a frenzy- it stated the word “Coach”- sorry, but that person could have been referring to any one of the many coaches on that team; no where does it say Joe Paterno’s name, and for a man who lived his life to improve the welfare of his players and the students of Penn State I have a hard time believing that he could ignore such serious allegations. Not to mention he plays a minor part compared to those who truly covered up the information, two of which are awaiting trial. The media should concentrate on people like Mrs. Sandusky who allowed this to happen in her own home (I will never believe that she did not know what was going on) or those who let Sandusky walk in 1998. Why is the media not focusing on them? I hear more about Joe Paterno and the football team than I do about the actual criminal who committed the abuse!

    As for the decisions made against the Penn State football team- once again, it was rash and irresponsible on the part of the NCAA. According to their guidelines they are supposed to base their judgements off of their own investigative efforts which, as far as I can tell, they based their judgements off of the Freeh report.

    With as much power as the Alumni Association has I believe the alumni should take a legal stance over this entire situation: We have the power to force the BOT into allowing the Paterno family to have access to Penn State documents. Secondly, the Alumni could begin a lawsuit against the NCAA for not creating their own investigation before making any type of decision to punish the football program or force the university to appeal the sanctions based off of their own lack of evidence. We would have a very strong case and considering the Alumni Association provides the university one of the largest dollar amounts I am pretty sure that the BOT would be scared of losing those funds especially during times like these. This may also provide the football players, present and future, with a little hope that theywill be able to play a bowl game in the near future and continue with their dreams of football.

    The sanctions will sadly hurt the community. The NCAA has created more victims, not of sexual abuse, but of wrongful judgement. The players count on the bowl games for a possible future in the NFL. Other players will not want to be recruited to a school that doesn’t give them the opportunity to show all of their talent and with the way the economy is, some of the players may not be able to afford an excellent education that Penn State has to offer without the help of a scholarship that the NCAA has so quickly taken away.

    I am asking my fellow alumni to take a stand against the injustice that has been done to our community, friends, and family. We need to make the nation realize that the United States law is based off of “innocent until proven guilty”. Right now everyone is guilty until proven innocent. I am tired of watching these so called officials take over my school and its reputation, I am tired of watching them hurt my fellow Penn Staters, and I am tired of watching the rest of the country believe every word that the media and the BOT has said about the football program, the school, and Joe Paterno.

  • 13. Matt  |  July 25, 2012 at 2:31 am

    You can whine all you want to, Penn State. The deification of Paterno and the precious football program created a culture that allowed people in power to gain IMMENSE power. So much so, 14 years of child rape went on. 14 YEARS!!! The NCAA correctly took time to tell Happy Valley that football will not be as important for a while. The only thing that got punished here was football. That’s it. If there are collateral damages, then maybe Penn State should reassess how much football should matter to education, arts, the community, etc. Football got so big, so powerful, so corrupt, that innocent children got raped, abused, molested, and ruined.

    The sanctions won’t help the victims anymore than putting a murderer in jail can bring back the dead. The murderer is prevented from murdering, and Penn State, hopefully, will completely reassess the stranglehold football has on the community. Joe-Pa, the head of the sport that funneled money into everything, got too big, and helped cover up a 14 year child rape event. Joe Pa was given that power by a college and community too heavily invested in the importance of what went on in Beaver Stadium (and they aren’t the only NCAAF to do that, I understand).

    Football is a game, folks, a game. Perspective. The children raped at Penn State? The children brought on planes to bowl games, paid for by Penn State by the watchful eye of Joe Pa? That is not a game. That was pure evil. Football allowed that to happen. Football got punished.

    The program, the culture, and the institution of Penn State is responsible and will now be punished for it. Deal with it. It’s football. Find a way to make the educational community survive w/o football. That was the point.

    And due process? If you want the NCAA to be given subpoena power, feel free. The evidence gained w/o that through the Freeh report is already damming. Subpoena power would only enhance that, as is the case 99% of the time. Be careful what you wish for/complain about.

  • 14. tracy  |  July 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Laurie – you hit the nail on the head. thank you for putting on paper what I’ve been trying to explain. Thank you.

  • 15. Gregory  |  July 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    A single person created a horrific situation, enabled by a complete systemic institutional failure that unfortunately carries it’s own consequences. We need to redirect our anger and disappointments with the NCAA, the “report,” etc., in order to to address the underlying causes and get back to the business of educating, our primary reason for existence. We can have athletic students to survive and improve at the same time.

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