The NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association handed down sanctions of a loss of 20 football scholarships, 60 million dollars of fines, the erasure of Joe Paterno’s wins from 1998 to 2011 a 14 season erasure and a four year ban from bowl games and postseason play. Experts in the collegiate football field found the punishment to be worse than the expected “Death Penalty”, which would have ended the football season for a term without any postseason, preseason, or bowl play. The harsh reality of the sanctions extends further to note that the 60 million dollar fine is to paid in five years and the loss of scholarships may not allow Penn State to recover from the heavy-handed judgement, but the erasure of 14 seasons of championship disqualifies Paterno as the strongest winning coach in the NCAA. However, the questions remain as to what is fair and unfair are deeply argued by supporters of the sanctions and those who do not.

After the release of the Freeh report, which I reported on here , concluded that five people were responsible for the continued elicit use of Penn State facilities which resulted in the sexual abuse of boys. Those five people are Jerry Sandusky a convicted pedophile who served as assistant coach and founded a charity organization for young people that he used to groom his victims, Graham Spanier the then President of Penn State University who took it upon himself to lie to the Board of Trustees about the real details of the Grand Jury presentment before it was published and actively worked to cover it up as quietly as possible, Tim Curley who served as the Athletic Director of Penn State University that also conspired to keep the abuse quiet, Gary Shultz who served as Vice President of Business-Finance who also conspired to cover it up, and Joe Paterno who was the coach of Penn State Football at the time of the abuse who was fired in 2011 and died a short time later due to lung cancer. None of these officers and the coach ever made the proper phone calls to the Department of Welfare, which serves as Pennsylvania’s children and youth services nor did Spanier, as was his responsibility to do so, report properly to the Board of Trustees why three Penn State officials (Curley, Shultz and Paterno) were being question by a Grand Jury and what that Grand Jury was alleging considering the pedophilia victimization of ten boys in the Penn State University athletic facilities. Since the presentment’s publication, Curley and Shultz are both being tried for committing perjury in concordance with testimony before the Grand Jury.

Paterno supporters and loyalists both on campus and off have been enraged by the sanctions, erasure of Paterno’s wins, and the removal of a statue of Paterno on Penn State University’s campus. Many claim that since Paterno had died before Freeh and his investigators could question him, he died of lung cancer and was therefore unable to present his case to the report. Many more claim that Freeh threw Paterno under the bus in order to sully his name in connection with the sexual abuse of ten young boys between 1998 and 2001 at the hands of Jerry Sandusky. They remain convinced that Paterno didn’t engage in a cover up considering that he told his supervisory officer Tim Curley about what then assistant Mike McQuery reported to him in 2001 about seeing Sandusky in a shower anally raping a young boy that has yet to be identified. In 2001 when the charge was made clear to Paterno, Curley, Shultz and Spanier, none of them knew how to handle it because training concerning such an issue was never completed by the university officials, administered by human resources or any other Penn State University employment official. They say Paterno did what he was supposed to do and notified Curley and Shultz, who was also then chief of campus police forces.

However, the truth of the statements made by supporters lacks one important detail: None of the four officers ever looked for the victim, showed any concern for the victim, or even thought to have Sandusky turn in his keys to campus facilities and the locks changed. The latter didn’t happen until November of 2011 after Sandusky’s arrest for criminal charges related to pedophilia. Also, none of the four ever took it upon themselves to inform the Board of Trustees of the abuses and instead they learned from the presentment when it was released to the public. Not one single record of any of these people calling and reporting it to the Department of Welfare exists on any level, not from McQuery, Spanier, Curley, Shultz or Paterno. All of which begs the question “why?” which remains relatively unanswered until Freeh’s firm issued it’s report. If anyone had the opportunity and the knowledge that they should have called, none of them did. If it were stopped when the first instance took place in 1998, it is obviously clear Sandusky’s outlet for both victims and a place to victimize them would have been halted. Instead, Sandusky received admonishment equal to a slap on the wrist and was permitted to carry on as that year’s assistant and then retirement in 1999 with a great many perks unavailable to most in his position. The report makes it entirely clear that had he been effectively dealt with, many of the victims of Sandusky would have been prevented their pain, suffering, shame and destruction at the hands of a serial pedophile. None of that was taken into consideration by the people who were given the responsibility to protect those who are on their campus, not Paterno, Shultz, Spanier, or Curley cared enough to do something or anything to protect the boys. They did, however, protect their football team and the strong-armed will of Joe Paterno from a nasty smear.

While I strongly disagree that the sanctions and erasure were unfair, there is more pressing unfairness that echoes the halls of the Penn State University. The unfairness that more victims had to suffer degradation, destruction of self esteem and self respect, pain and scarring that would never heal. Penn State University had become a satellite to it’s football program which trumped academic achievements, common sense, and human decency. A janitor in the Freeh report alluded to the fact that football ran the college and he would be fired for telling, one simply did not interrupt the almighty football athletic achievements. It is therefore completely fitting that the NCAA levied such a heavy punishment on Penn State University also known as Linebacker U. It is time that the football program is no longer the most important thing traded for higher learning, educational quality, consideration, compassion, and prevention of the abuse of young boys in athletic facilities. I am saddened to see that society who has made it possible for actions to have no consequences is taught the rough lesson that there most certainly are. Reasonable, responsible human beings care more about the children who will never be normal again due to a serial pedophile, not how it must look to the outside world that it was enabled by five powerful people who had the ability to stop it. Not only were these sanctions and the erasure warranted, they were as fair as they could be in the name of human dignity and decency that was not displayed by a Paterno run management.

I am well aware that Paterno did not get to speak for himself and that it is quite possible he is being thrown under the bus for being unable to believe Jerry Sandusky would do such a thing. I am well aware also that when it came time for him to do something about it, he remained apathetic. He didn’t pick up a phone and call police himself. He chose not to report him to the Department of Welfare. He chose instead to encourage Sandusky to retire, writing a suggestion that he be granted as head of youth organizations at the university, and never once stopped to believe that Sandusky was capable of the horror he did to those children. Whether he was unable to believe the report of abuse in 1998 or not, he did not once try to find the child and see to his well being. Never once, even in 2001 did he consider that Sandusky was a monster. I do entirely believe there is a reason for that.

I contend that Mike McQuery, who also failed to show compassion for the child by finding out who he was and if there was an outlet for psychological therapy to assist in victimization healing, did not tell Paterno what he told the Grand Jury that he told him. I strongly believe that McQuery did sit with Joe Paterno and tell him something, but it wasn’t what he told his father and it certainly was not the entire truth. Paterno was a force to be reckoned with, a man who enjoyed being right and in being right, was strongly passionate about football and Penn State University. Why, if McQuery did say what he claims to say, would Paterno have not called the Department of Welfare? He was not properly informed, he was not constructive to getting the problem solved, and McQuery was all about football in the same manner. McQuery bears responsibility for not calling the Department of Welfare and reporting it, contrary to his claims that he did. Shultz, who was the current chief of campus police, was told by Paterno, but not by McQuery. Why not? Because McQuery was a satellite of the football program just like the entire university and he didn’t want things to crash and burn either. His responsibility to take action against Sandusky is just as weighted as Spaniers, Shultz, Curley and Paterno had been. They all failed that unknown boy in the shower being forced to do something he didn’t want to do, who may have later committed suicide for all we know, because no one did anything to help him or stop Sandusky.

The failure of Penn State University to properly screen child workers during events at their campus, the burial of Sandusky’s crimes, and the permission of the football coach to run the university all lead to the sanctions and erasure of Paterno’s wins. It is important to note that the current and former students of Penn State University and a large percentage of the university’s staff had no knowledge it was happening and keeping them as responsible parties to the cover up is ridiculous and immature. They had nothing to do with it and had no knowledge such a thing was going on and therefore it is not somehow “their” fault, too is an assumption made by those who would rather blame the gate for letting the horse out of the paddock. Someone opened the gate and the horse escaped, those people are Spanier, Shultz, Curley, Paterno and McQuery and the applicable punishment for doing so is long overdue.

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