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COLUMN: There isn’t a big enough penalty

Penn State cover-up makes SMU ‘death penalty’ scandal look like stealing quarters

July 12, 2012
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor ( , Salem News

In 1987, the Southern Methodist University football program, riddled with NCAA infractions, under the table payments to players and shady deals as far as the eye could see, ultimately had its storied, championship-caliber program shut down for the season. The school lost scholarships, television deals, coaching positions and the ability to recruit players for an entire year. The fallout lasted decades as the Mustangs had just one winning season over the next 20 years and didn't reach another bowl game until 2009.

SMU got the famed "death penalty" for running your typical holier-than-thou, shyster-based program you often associate with crooked politicians.

There isn't a penalty big enough for Penn State.

Thursday, the 267-page Freech report was released and revealed cover-up after cover-up after cover-up concerning administrators and longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky who was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over the course of 15 years.

A sick, deranged, twisted pedophile, Sandusky will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

A lot of other people should be there with him.

The report detailed a "total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders and Penn State."

This included Joe Paterno. The head coach, along with university president Gram Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz all knew what was going on, and they all swept it under the rug.

Not only did Penn State administrators cover it up, they went out of their way to keep Penn State's integrity in tact. All the while, a deviant monster continued to rape young boys.

We're not talking about kickbacks here, or bribes, or even special incentives to players. Penn State makes SMU look like a stolen quarter.

If the NCAA has any shred of credibility, any kind of moral fiber left, they need to drop not only the "death penalty," but effectively end the program in all capacity until further notice, rid it of every last speck and pursue legal action against anyone connected to these cover-ups immediately.

How long did Sandusky get away with these crimes? How long did the football program and school continue to benefit while all of this was going on? Figure out an exact number of years, and take away the program for the same amount of time.

Harsh? Not even close. Harsh was what Penn State administrators allowed to knowingly happen while on the surface fooling the entire world of the terror going behind closed doors.

It should allow any and all current student athletes the ability to transfer to a new school without any kind of limitation whatsoever. It should also compensate those involved in the football program who were not involved in this mess for the financial loss they might suffer as result of the program shutting down.

Think back to the days when Happy Valley was riddled with supporters for Paterno when he was fired. How can you justify supporting anyone who did so little in the face of adversity?

Paterno said he wished he "had done more." More? Try anything at all, Joe.

For decades now, Penn State has put football above all else. That not only includes the atrocities they harbored in their midst, but quite simply any shred of common decency as human beings.

In 2002, John Lombardi, then president of the University of Florida and now the president of the Louisiana State University System said "SMU taught the committee that the death penalty is too much like the nuclear bomb. It's like what happened after we dropped the bomb in World War II. The results were so catastrophic that now we'll do anything to avoid dropping another one."

Bombs away, NCAA. Bombs away.



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