Indicting Penn State

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Early in the scandal, informed observers dismissed the possibility that the NCAA could or would invoke an LOIC judgment against Penn State. But even a novice’s read of LOIC language—and count me as a novice when it comes to the NCAA’s byzantine compliance process—suggests that what Penn State’s football program allowed to happen meets the very definition of a lack of institutional control.

Under the heading, “Acts That Are Likely To Demonstrate A Lack of Institutional Control,” we find the following examples:

• “The institution fails to make clear, by its words and its actions, that those personnel who willfully violate NCAA rules, or who are grossly negligent in applying those rules, will be disciplined and made subject to discharge.” Some will argue that the NCAA has no part in these matters because NCAA rules were not technically broken. This is nonsense. Implicit in being a member in good standing of the NCAA must be the observance of state and federal laws. To flout the laws of a state and/or of the United States is to violate the very spirit of the NCAA’s standards. What Paterno and the Penn State hierarchy did and didn’t do is far worse than any player-payment scandals, grade-fudging or out-of-season contact with recruits. “It is the duty of adults to protect children and to immediately report any suspected child sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities,” as Freeh explained. Paterno and his co-conspirators did not even meet this lowest, most basic level of compliance with the law. By word and action, Paterno and the Penn State hierarchy obstructed justice.

• “A head coach fails to create and maintain an atmosphere for compliance within the program the coach supervises.” Football is all that mattered at Paterno’s Penn State. “Football runs this university,” said the janitor who saw one of Sandusky’s assaults, trying to explain why he couldn’t report the crime. As the Freeh report put it, there was “a culture of reverence for the football program…ingrained at all levels of the campus”—not a culture of compliance with the law.

• “A person with compliance responsibilities fails to establish a proper system for compliance or fails to monitor the operations of a compliance system.” The head football coach and AD, in effect, created a system that encouraged non-compliance with the laws of the state.

• “A director of athletics or any other individual with compliance responsibilities fails to investigate or direct an investigation of a possible significant violation of NCAA rules.” Again, the guilty parties took no steps to correct the Sandusky problem when it became apparent that the system wasn’t working. “Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated,” Freeh concluded, “no such sentiments were ever expressed…for Sandusky’s victims.”

Perhaps knowing what was to come, Paterno contended that “This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one.” Nothing could be further from the truth, of course: It was a football coach who committed these crimes; he committed many of these crimes at football facilities and at football-related events; and it was a football coach who averted his gaze from these crimes.

After the scandal broke, a portrait of Sandusky on Penn State’s campus was quietly painted over—and rightly so. Given Judge Freeh’s findings, it may be time to remove the bronze statue of Paterno as well.

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  • Flynn McMahon

    The statue should go. After this how could anybody on the campus walk by it without a total feeling of revulsion. And this is coming from someone who has a lifelong love of football but I'm beginning to wonder if the whole thing shouldn't be torn down; i.e. the program at PSU and maybe beyond.

  • amused

    Looks like tuition may be going up at Penn State ….wayyyyyy up , since the lawsuits coming are estimated to be 100 million . And it serves them right .
    Just goes to show that "book knowledge " has got nothing at all to do with common sense , for how utterly foolish to even think this would never come to light . And such an egregious thing to cover up .
    But you see it everyday , in all aspects of society , Wall Street , Libor Scandal , Wells Fargo's loss in a discriminatory loaning process , lol…politics and/or corruption. Trouble is , no one EVER learns .
    Paterno as great a coach as he was , in the long run , didn't have the cahones to do the right thing .And this will be his final defining factor .

  • bubbaland1

    Don't worry the NCAA will not give PSU's football program the death penalty, because for the people of Happy Valley, and the admin of PSU, football is more important than the welfare of children. Football gives many people who cannot find meaning in their lives something of value. On a larger level, the report is an indictment of the football culture that pervades American colleges and universities. In the college town where I live, the "leaders" of our university would rather build an alumni center for football related activities instead of a science museum. After all, football games generate more money and a science museum would.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Caring about one's team has led colleges to admit students simply because they are good athletes. Enthusiasm over sports has led to soccer riots. It is a pleasure to watch skillful athletes, but getting worked up over a team makes little sense. Being too involved in something that's not really important causes corruption and violence.

  • Schlomotion

    Within approximately three days, the editors will attempt to link the Sandusky-Paterno ped.ophilia train up to the British Muslim ped.ophilia caboose. Most likely this will be done on the Glazov Show, where the more prurient and perverse theories get boiled down. It's like watching whales try to mate in public. There's no hiding the foreplay.

  • 2012

    Whether it be Bishops, or football coaches, or people in other occupations…it happens more often than people realize. We humans will often look away when confronted with evidence that someone we know and respect is guilty of such a heinous crime. If we don’t know the accused, we will believe they are guilty even if the evidence clears them, but if we do know them and we like them we will believe them innocent even when confronted with evidence. Much could be said about why we do this (mostly the hideous nature of the crime), but still it would be great if the media would at least acknowledge this behavior instead of trying to convince people that it is only a problem with the catholic church.

  • Ghostwriter

    I'd never heard of Joe Paterno before this erupted. It's sad that he looked the other way while his assistant raped young boys. What a sad thing to happen. This scandal has all the elements of Greek tragedy. A good man destroyed by his flaws. My only comfort for the Paterno family is that he isn't around to suffer through this. That one foolish,stupid act has undone any sort of good he did.

  • radicalconservative

    Ok armchair heroes armed with hindsight, before you pass judgment on JoPa I remind you that to ruin another man's life based on hearsay from another party is a grave sin if it turns out you were wrong. Paterno was NOT a witness to any pedophilia events, he reported the accusation to the University, and was likely talked into believing his friend was either innocent or had need of psychological help and would be "fixed". Do you really believe the man supports the raping of boys?! Stop and get off your high moral horses and accept the complexity of that difficult situation that he faced.

  • Mike Villano

    You gotta love the language they guys come up with.
    "A Lack of Institutional Control"
    Sandusky was buggering young boys while everyone knew but pretended it wasn't happening and they call it a lack of institutional control??
    The same term could be applied to anything from grade inflation to too many students enrolling in remedial math and English classes.

  • BS77

    Melt down the statue……what a travesty!!!

  • BS77

    What a bunch of gobbledeegook……….iPhone…..what the heck are you talking about?

  • radicalconservative

    Leave the statue. Louis Freeh is making a sensationalized assumption about Paterno's beliefs and actions. Until he can prove that Paterno knew that Sandusky was buggering boys, I will give the man the benefit of the doubt. Why do we blame innocent people more than the perpetrators? Do we need a scapegoat? Like stupid liberals? "Blame Bush! Blame the Jews! " Now it's conservatives who blame Paterno! The blame rests with Sandusky. If Paterno knowingly allowed Sandusky to bugger boys, and you can prove THAT, then tear down the statue.

  • Horace

    Sandusky was doing what the University wanted him to do. The policy of the University is to promote sodomy every chance it gets, especially among its newest young students. It supports numerous gay organizations, steering as many impressionable young kids entering Penn State (like most other big American universities) into the hands of the amoral gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered(eventual mutilation involved here) power groups on the campus. It calls anyone who objects to this destruction of young people "bigots". I guess Sandusky wasn't a bigot. Joe Paterno didn't see enough wrong with what he was doing to stop it. Just like the higher ups. Go figure.

  • Jaladhi

    Joe Paterno's statue has to go from campus if the university wants salvage any of its honor or dignity that's is left. Actually there no honor and dignity in this university when it's President and the "the" coach Joe Paterno protected this pedophile criminal instead of the defenseless young boys. How low can they sink – what would have been their reaction if their own children wer abused by some pedophile?? Criminal charges should be filed against the president and two other top officials to serve the justice. These guys are so corrupt and disgusting that they should not be allowed to roam free in public. They can walk all they want inside the prison system. Disgusting culture of Penn State football!!