Spare me. Spare me the calls to abolish
The two most acute examples of this "Paterno revisionism" are
I am all for exposing what was fraudulent about Joe Paterno. I am all for calling him out as someone who cared more about his football program than the welfare of endangered children, and have written these very words. I am also in full agreement with Louis Freeh that one of the greatest problems the Sandusky
But the conclusions I draw from this sobering reality are profoundly different than those of Mr. Reilly, Ms. Jenkins and many others. As Mr. Reilly thundered, his breast aflame with newfound religion, "I hope the NCAA gives Penn State the death penalty it most richly deserves. The worst scandal in college football history deserves the worst penalty the NCAA can give. They gave it to [
I agree with the "chump" part. Mr. Reilly was, as he admits, a chump for confusing journalism with the hagiographic profiles he wrote about Mr. Paterno for all these years. He's also a chump for thinking that shutting down the football program actually helps one child, deters one rape or addresses the problem of our reverence for the sham amateurism and skewed values created by big-time college sports.
Abolishing Penn State football is wrong for a multitude of reasons. Here are merely a few:
1. It's an act of collective punishment. The end of football at Penn State would also mean the end of football revenue underwriting the Penn State athletic department. It would mean the end of every athletic scholarship, every women's sports program and every one of the thousands and thousands of jobs produced by this regional economic engine. None of these people were responsible for Mr. Sandusky's reign of terror and Joe Paterno's criminal complicity. The argument for collective punishment is always morally repugnant, which gets to point two.
2. The only reason to punish so many innocents is to stand with the much-trafficked idea that "all of State College" is somehow complicit in Mr. Sandusky's crimes and the attendant cover-ups. Everyone in State College, this argument goes, was the moral equivalent of now infamous assistant coach
The people to blame for enabling Mr. Sandusky in addition to Mr. Paterno are former Athletic Director
Unlike other college football "scandals" at places like SMU or Ohio State, the criminal and civil courts will extract more than a pound of flesh from Penn State. The NCAA, a cartel devoted to little more than ensuring its own reign over an utterly corrupt status quo, should just step back and let the grown-ups do their job, which leads to point three.
3. The NCAA is part of the problem. Once again, Louis Freeh is correct that the problem is a "culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community." But this is the tragic truth at universities across the country. You cannot tell me there aren't scores of stomach-turning scandals at big-money, big-conference schools that just haven't seen the light of day. There are others that have, like the rape scandal at
The common problem — from Penn State to Ohio State to Notre Dame — is a system that treats coaches like deities and young players as an uneasy mix of gods and chattel. If the call was to abolish all of college football in the wake of the Penn State scandal and convert all athletic scholarships into academic ones, then let's support this for the collective good. But to punish Penn State for the deep rot that lies in the system? To legitimize the NCAA's bankrupt moral authority to punish evildoers? To think for a moment that the NCAA has any stake in somehow altering this lucrative "culture of reverence"? That's like asking Tim Geithner to clean up Wall Street. It's a fool's errand.
If Ms. Jenkins, Mr. Reilly and others really want to do something other that beat a dead Nittany Lion, they should call for the heads of the real enablers. They should call for the resignation of the Penn State Board of Trustees, including board member Gov.