November 22, 2011
Don't need distraction
Los Angeles Times
Yes, although it's a different case from Miami, which did the necessary thing in taking itself out of bowl consideration as part of a damage-control strategy. Current Miami players were involved in the Nevin Shapiro scandal.
Penn State players had nothing to do with the Jerry Sandusky case. But several members of the coaching staff, including interim head coach Tom Bradley, were longtime associates of Sandusky. No one is accusing them of any wrongdoing, but there are questions about what they knew, or should have known, about their former colleague.
This is shaping up as the biggest scandal in college sports history. A bowl would be more of a distraction than a reward. Penn State would be better served sitting this bowl season out.
Time to check priorities
The sum total of wisdom and leadership Penn State officials have exhibited during the Jerry Sandusky scandal is equivalent to the chance Joe Paterno will win Big Ten Coach of the Year.
If interim President Rodney Erickson wants to take a positive step, he'll remove Penn State from the bowl pool. If he doesn't, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany should do it for him.
I'm not one of these extremists who advocate kicking Penn State out of the conference or taking Paterno's name off the library. But Notre Dame has turned down bowl bids during coaching transitions, and Miami self-imposed a bowl ban because of its Nevin Shapiro shame.
Penn State needs time to step back, get away from football and re-rank its priorities. Playing in a bowl is not one of them.
Don't punish players
Based on what is known, no Penn State player has done anything wrong pertaining to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. So why should the players be punished?
Instead of punishing all for the actions of the few, punish the few. All NCAA coaches and athletic department employees should have a codicil in their contracts that calls for forfeiture of salaries if found guilty of breaking NCAA rules or federal, state or local laws. They shouldn't be able to stay one step ahead of trouble by moving to another job while the previous school suffers.
If the remaining Penn State coaches knew more about the scandal, fire them and find temporary coaches for the bowl game. And Penn State should donate its bowl paycheck to a children's charity.
No comparison to Miami
The answer is a resounding no.
The NCAA is in the earliest stages of its investigation into whether there was a lack of institutional control at Penn State during the last decade or longer.
In response to an NCAA investigation into whether some current and former athletes received improper benefits, Miami on Sunday announced it was self-imposing a bowl ban.
That decision makes sense.
But we're comparing apples to oranges here. The Hurricanes may have done things that altered on-field play. The current Nittany Lions were in middle school when former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's alleged rapes were said to have occurred.
Penn State, don't punish yourself this way.
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