Andy Staples…Naw

Posted: July 3, 2012 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Football, NCAA, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

I’m sure Andy Staples is a nice guy. I hope he is rather. What he decided to write on the Penn State situation is rather…unfortunate. Original version can be found here.

Let’s just get into this thing:

As the layers of the tragedy at Penn State get pulled back more with each passing day, people keep trying to turn a legal issue into a football one.

The legal issues are just starting. It doesn’t end with Sandusky, there are some other people at that school and a civil suit that will be incoming. I don’t really think there is any harm being done to the legal issues by looking at the football side.

On the night Jerry Sandusky was convicted, some called for the Death Penalty. Not for Sandusky — for whom a quick, painless death is far too lenient — but for Penn State’s football program. When CNN obtained e-mails June 29 from the administrators who teamed with coach Joe Paterno to either cover up or ignore an accusation that would have led to Sandusky’s arrest in 2001,

Remember this part.

people wanted jail time for the men involved and an NCAA hammer for the football program.

To use a term the NCAA coined, how can this not represent a Lack of Institutional Control? Because it doesn’t — at least not in the NCAA sense. It is a case of a university having too much control.

Let me get this fucking straight. The people running a place of education asked the football coach what they should do with a child rapist, and that is somehow an example of having too much institutional control?

It is a case of a massive abuse of power with horrific consequences, and the perpetrators of that abuse of power deserve jail time. It is not a case of broken NCAA bylaws, though.

In a situation in which adequate institutional procedures exist, at least on paper, a practical,
common-sense approach is appropriate in determining whether they are adequately monitored
and enforced by a person in “control.” – Source

There is a reason the IRS doesn’t punish murderers who pay their taxes. That same reason applies here.

Let’s compare a net of child abuse with many immediate victims to murders that don’t pay taxes.

This may seem cold, but nowhere in the 426-page Division I manual is there a rule forbidding the cover-up of a violation of state statute. There is no obstruction of justice charge, no way to punish someone for his or her failure to call the police. The NCAA has rules to handle free tattoos, excessive phone calls and couch surfing (maybe not even that), but it is way out of its league here.

“They can totally punish kids who get tattoos for free, but a massive cover up that involves the entire institution defaulting to the football coach in no way displays a lack of institutional control.”

So even though NCAA president Mark Emmert inserted the organization into the case with one of the most misguided missives ever to emerge from NCAA headquarters,* please stop suggesting the NCAA needs to crush Penn State’s football program because of the Sandusky tragedy. It may make a bunch of rival fans feel better if a bunch of players who were in elementary school in 2001 suffer, but it won’t solve anything. It won’t help anyone heal. It won’t send any message that matters.

* Here is how these things work. Something awful such as the Sandusky case happens, and people at powerful organizations such as the NCAA feel they have to say something. This is partially the fault of people in my business who constantly call for comment and partially the fault of the people inside NCAA headquarters who failed to realize that they needed to butt out of this issue in the absence of actual NCAA violations.

So it would have been better somehow if the NCAA didn’t issue a statement, didn’t speak out on the biggest sports scandal in history? They should have followed in JoePa’s footsteps and kept quiet about the whole thing?

The messages that matter will come from the juries who convict and the judges who sentence. If former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz are convicted of perjury, then hopefully they’ll get thrown in the general population of a state prison and forced to wear signs around their necks advertising that they helped a child molester. If former president Graham Spanier is found to have helped the cover-up, then hopefully he’ll be charged appropriately, convicted and mistreated in a similar manner while in prison. (I’m aware part of this is unconstitutional. So they probably shouldn’t do that part. Still, a relatively comfortable imprisonment is better than what someone who would do these things deserves.)

“I hope that they do things that violates the constitution to these guys, but we can’t touch Penn State football because of NCAA bylaws.”

When arguing with NCAA Death Penalty advocates on Twitter, a common refrain from them is that if the NCAA doesn’t punish Penn State’s football program, no one will learn the proper lesson from this case. Canceling football games and revoking scholarships will do nothing to teach the necessary lesson — which is that if a man doesn’t exercise human decency and do the right thing to protect those who can’t protect themselves, then he’ll be fired and could go to jail.

Ahh…I see now. You don’t understand the cult of football that has complete control over Happy Valley. You should remember this part too.

As for Paterno, he is gone. Some seem to think the e-mails leaked to CNN exposed something, but anyone with common sense and a rudimentary knowledge of how a major college football program works wasn’t surprised.

For fucks sake, you’re admitting that the whole fucking system is beyond fucked but we can’t do fuckall to the system because there is nothing in the fucking bylaws about protecting a child rapist and that cancelling football won’t teach any lessons to anyone? Furthermore, you’re saying we shouldn’t be surprised by emails insinuating that it was JoePa that was in control of the whole situation in the first place? We shouldn’t be surprised at corruption? It happens everywhere right, so why should we punish that football program? YOU JACKASS, THE ENTIRE PENN STATE FOOTBALL PROGRAM LET LITTLE KIDS GET RAPED IN THE SHOWERS! We shouldn’t be surprised about that?

Besides, little that emerges from this point forward will change anyone’s opinion of the man. There will forever be two camps with few people in between. If Penn Staters want a statue on their campus of a man who won a lot of football games, graduated a lot of players, raised a lot of money and — either through his action or his inaction — helped a child rapist keep operating, that is their prerogative.

“Helped a child rapist keep operating.” That’s the throw in phrase, huh? That is how the bio starts now, it isn’t tucked in at the end of a sentence.

Here’s how it should read: If Penn Staters want a statue on their campus of a man who ENABLED CHILD RAPE and coached football, that is their prerogative.

Those in favor of an NCAA attack on Penn State believe this only happened because of the football program. Did the men act to protect the football program? Yes, but only because they either worked for it or were closely aligned with it. This was about self-preservation. Had they gone to the authorities, this would have been a major scandal in 2001.

Nope, can’t make a case about lack of institutional control at all.

Curley almost certainly would have been gone for signing off on any plan that allowed Sandusky access to the facilities.

Institutional control? I can’t hear ya.

Paterno, coming off a 5-7 season in 2000 and hearing calls for his retirement, could have lost his job as well.

I tell you what I’m having trouble hearing ya.

They weren’t protecting the program. They were protecting themselves.

And a child rapist. Don’t forget that one. Ohh, and a football program that is worth millions to the university. They were also protecting that.

Think of it this way: If Sandusky was a recently retired surgeon, Paterno was the chief of surgery and Curley was the dean of Penn State’s College of Medicine, would you be asking the Liaison Committee on Medical Education to make it impossible for Penn State to continue training physicians 11 years after the fact? Of course you wouldn’t.

Did you just fucking compare the field of medicine to football? You totally fucking did. Holy Santa Claus shit, you are really detached from reality.

Football players don’t matter half as much as doctors. Doctors go out there and save lives. They do important research. They, you know, greatly contribute to society as a whole. 

Football players run into each other for our pleasure. 

One of those things is really important.

Nothing meaningful will be learned if the NCAA crushes Penn State’s football program despite a lack of evidence that any NCAA rules were actually broken.

Ohhhh goddamn.

This could change if Judge Louis Freeh’s investigation turns up evidence of actual NCAA violations.

Maybe Jerry was giving his victims tattoos for free. Then we can really go after PSU!

If the Freeh Report contains evidence of academic fraud to keep athletes eligible or any other chicanery banned in the NCAA’s manual, then the NCAA will have jurisdiction. Failing that, all the NCAA could do is commit a massive abuse of power — which is exactly the same thing that got Penn State in trouble in the first place.

The football coach abusing power is totally not a lack of institutional control.

The NCAA’s own rules seem to forbid it from applying the Death Penalty in this case. The Death Penalty consists of several major elements: a one- or two-year ban on outside competition and a two-year ban on new scholarships and recruiting. But, according to NCAA rules, the Death Penalty can only be applied to a school that has “Repeat Violator” status. To achieve that status, a school must have been convicted of a major violation in the five years preceding the current violation. Penn State had no such violation. That might not matter, though.

Even without Repeat Violator status, the NCAA has the latitude to apply penalties that would mimic the Death Penalty and effectively cripple Penn State’s football program. John Infante, the author of the excellent Bylaw Blog, explained that any major violation that reflects a lack of institutional control would allow the NCAA to issue a one-year ban on outside competition. Infante added that the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions also could impose scholarship sanctions. If the committee chose, it could wipe out an entire recruiting class.

Sooo…why shouldn’t the NCAA do any of this?

What rule would the NCAA claim Penn State broke?

Oh fuck, here we go.

Ohio State fans should be intimately familiar with Bylaw 10.1, which forbids Unethical Conduct.

Naw, you wouldn’t…

The NCAA manual includes a list of circumstances in which 10.1 would apply, but makes sure to leave it open-ended by using the phrase “may include, but is not limited to.” This bylaw is the NCAA’s catch-all, and it usually is used to hammer coaches or administrators who lie to NCAA investigators. Conceivably, the NCAA could tag former athletic department employees Paterno, Curley and Mike McQueary with violations of Bylaw 10.1 for their failure to act after McQueary said he witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in a shower. (Cumulatively, these violations could draw the Lack of Institutional Control charge.) I studied 177 cases involving violations of 10.1 last year for a column about Jim Tressel, and every one of those 10.1 violations was attached to another violation of an existing NCAA rule. To apply it without attaching it to another violation would also be an extraordinary precedent.

An extraordinarily dangerous precedent.

More or less dangerous than enabling a child rapist?

If the schools that run the NCAA alter their own rules for an ex post facto smashing of Penn State, they would essentially empower the NCAA for all sorts of retroactive enforcement. How would Oregon feel if the NCAA could rewrite the rulebook after the fact to ban payments to street agents?

Really, this is where we are with this. The NCAA can’t make a special exception in an extreme case because Oregon might get mad?

Oregon has mounted a defense of its $25,000 payment in 2010 to bogus recruiting service operator Will Lyles, and the program just might get away with it without suffering dire consequences.

“But how will Oregon protect its dirty program!”

Existing NCAA rules manage dealings with boosters, but they say little about handlers. Given the power to juke the rules, the NCAA could say it always meant to outlaw payments to handlers. Since Oregon paid Lyles by check, it wouldn’t have any defense. You may consider that justice in the Oregon case, but it would be patently un-American justice. The framers of the U.S. Constitution didn’t even wait until the Bill of Rights to ban ex post facto laws, which would allow the government to punish someone for an act that was legal when the person committed it. That ban applies only to the justice system and not private entities such as the NCAA, but most private entities respect the concept because it is one of our nation’s core principles.

This is perhaps a larger point about the American justice system which does not do its best to pursue justice, it merely rewards the person that can argue the law the best. If you feel that a private entity that prides itself on integrity should compromise it’s principles because you don’t want the football program to go away, I can’t help you. 

Besides, Penn State may have bigger problems. While this case doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA, it does fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Education. A Department of Education investigation that results in a termination of Penn State’s accreditation would essentially amount to the Death Penalty for the entire university.

Hold the fuck up, what happened to your “You can’t ask the university to stop teaching medicine” bullshit from up top? Shouldn’t you write an article about how the University can lose its accreditation instead of its sorryass football program? Who gives a shit about cleats and field goals if people are going to lose work over this?

Given the fact that such a punishment would put thousands of people out of work, Penn State might fall into the “too big to fail” category. Still, the possibility must fray the nerves of the thousands in State College who had nothing to do with this atrocity.

Unless Freeh’s inquiry turns up actual violations of NCAA bylaws, Penn Staters should not have to worry about the NCAA destroying their football team. That doesn’t help anyone. Hopefully, the people involved in the cover-up at Penn State will pay dearly. Hopefully, that will send the necessary message that protecting children always outweighs professional concerns. Given the weight of the other aspects of this case, tearing down the football program would just be petty.

Dude, “protecting children always outweighs professional concerns,” is the correct mode of thought to have. The point is that the football program shouldn’t matter in the face of this scandal. This entire article sounds tone-deaf and overly protective of the one thing that mattered above all, even children, at Penn State.

Football. Naw dude, it needs to go away for a while.

  1. zlionsfan says:

    There’s no rule that says the enablers only have direct contact to the criminal. Let’s not forget that SI and CNN weren’t exactly digging up things around St. Paterno while Yahoo people were telling us what was really happening … and it’s not like Paterno showed any awareness in the past when confronted with sexual assault cases involving the program. Here are a couple of quotes from a Daily Beast article shortly after it became clear that this wasn’t just a minor thing:

    “In late 2002, Penn State cornerback Anwar Phillips was accused by a classmate of sexual assault, and the university suspended him for two semesters. But before his suspension began, the Nittany Lions were to play Auburn in the middle of January in the Capital One Bowl. Paterno put Phillips in uniform.”

    “In 2006, on the eve of the Orange Bowl, Paterno had this to say about a Florida State linebacker named A. J. Nicholson who had been accused of sexually assaulting a woman: ‘There’s so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do?”'”

    Stop me if you think any of these guys took this seriously.

    Staples is just another talking head trying to defend the beast that is college athletics, not even understanding what exactly it is that he’s trying to defend. It’s sad, really.

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