Report: Big Ten proposing plan to give Delany, presidents power to fire coaches

The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the Big Ten is considering a plan in the wake of the Penn State scandal that would give commissioner Jim Delany and a committee of conference presidents the authority to levy sanctions that include financial penalties, suspensions and termination of a school employee if their actions significantly hurt the Big Ten’s reputation.

The story on the Chronicle requires a $40 subscription, but here is ESPN’s brief summary.


  1. Can you say overreaction? This is nothing more than an emotional reaction and attempt to make it look like they are going to be tough in the future. Any school ignorant enough to agree to handing over that kind of power to one person deserves whatever they get. knee+jerk

  2. Totally disagree, Sam. I was sickened by what I read in the Freeh report. Some way must be found to ensure that this never happens again; or if it does, that discipline can come from neutral parties outside the offending school.

    I live in SEC country, where they originated the saying, applied to recruiting and maintaining eligibility for marginal-at-best athletes: ‘If you’re not cheatin’, you’re not tryin’.’ I have always defended the Big Ten against their sniping, holding up its integrity and academics as my justifications. Now this scandal (if that word can be an understatement, this is that time) comes up and the Big Ten is, in public opinion, guilty by association and I can say nothing to the questions of ‘What happened? I thought the Big Ten was so high and mighty and just and right?’ except hang my head. PSU’s complicity in this situation is humiliating to the rest of the league, and that’s among the least of its ramifications.

    As such, I think this move is entirely justified per se; and still it won’t erase the stigma of being associated with an institution that allowed this to occur. But it can possibly at least help avoid something similar in the future.

  3. I agree completely…these statements are intended give the B10 some air time in this situation without which, they would appear powerless to impose meaningful sanctions. However, I do think Delany and company are dead serious about doing whatever they have to do to make certain no other school goes off the rails like Penn State. I think they need to come up with a well thought out program for dealing with PSU as well as a set of rules of engagement to ensure adequate institutional control and compliance in B10 athletic programs. This needs to be their mission and they need to make it happen swiftly.

  4. Completely support the idea of the Big Ten Commissioner and a Committee of Big Ten Presidents having the power and authority to dismiss coaches in any of the universities in the conference for egregious conduct.

    The two contributors above me- Eric and IUfan23- have stated the case exactly as it should be. The role of the Athletic Director must be limited to the administrative issues involved, the importance of athletic must be as a part in the overall mission of the institution and no more. The train has arrived and gone where bringing athletic and economic interests can rule over or independent of the institutions. The feeling that Penn State was a football program with a school attached can not become a legacy for other Big Ten schools.

    Penn State is the most revolting but not the only example of the damage that can be done to our most important institutions by knee bending to athletic commercial, political and economic interests. If the Big Ten is suggesting policing itself, it must give evidence that it can do so and the power must be transferred to the educational leaders.

    The Big Ten has most often been a voice for good in intercollegiate athletics, but several of the schools have shown that where these interests overwhelm the culture of the university, tragedies like the Penn State abuse of children scandal are likely.

  5. Sam, I am with you this knee jerk overreaction is grossly aimed at making a PR show. The B10 has more than they can handle getting officiating crews to not make so many obvious incorrect calls. That is all they need more territory to cover by including the added responsibility of all 12 AD’s HC’s. Set down take load off your feet and see how PSU deals with itself with self imposing and then take a look at growing B10 oversight.

  6. Centralizing power. What a bad idea!

    Sorry, but this is a classic example of a knee jerk reaction by bureaucrats. As much as I condemn and despise the crimes committed by the former Penn State coaches and administrators, this proposal is really dumb. It reminds me of the various “hate crime” legislation that exists in states across the country. It’s redundant at best and bound to create more legal problems than it solves.

    The crimes committed by Penn State coaches and administrators don’t tarnish the Big Ten, they tarnish Penn State and the entire state of Pennsylvania. If the Big Ten wants to punish the University for its crimes, it can kick Penn State out of the Big Ten. But giving one person the power to terminate a person that is not in his/her chain of command is a really, really bad idea, and an invitation to different abuses of power. Wasn’t abuse of power the real problem to begin with?

    The Big Ten is proposing to take on additional power without taking on additional responsibility. Is the Big Ten going to be responsible for protecting citizens against crimes committed by a Big Ten athletic departments’ employees? No! So why should they be given the power to fire an university employee? And why is it necessary?

    If a Big Ten university employee is suspected of committing a crime, that person should be investigated, arrested, charged, prosecuted, then, if found guilty, sentenced to an appropriate punishment according to the laws of the state in which the crime was committed. If the crime is covered up by the university, but later made public, as was the case at Penn State, then the conference commissioner can take action to punish the university. By transferring authority from a university to a Conference Commissioner, the conference may be inadvertently encouraging conspiracies, by university administrators, necessary to cover-up the crimes. This could actually make the problems worse. If you want to solve problems, drive power and responsibility down as far as possible, not up. To do otherwise leads people to rationalize that since they don’t have the authority (power), they don’t have the responsibility. Responsibility without authority always leads to bad outcomes, and there is no authority without responsibility.

    Let’s rewind here, using the Penn State case as an example. When would the Big Ten have fired Joe Paterno? I suggest they would have fired JoPa at about the same time Penn State fired him, or as soon as it was reasonably certain that he failed to take the action necessary to protect the children and participated in a cover up to protect the football program and the university. How would the Big Ten Commissioner have acted any different?

    And if the Big Ten does this, what then? What if the NCAA decides that the power to fire a coach resides within their bureaucracy? Do we suddenly trust the Big Ten Conference or the NCAA bureaucrats more than we did yesterday? Where does it stop? Giving big bureaucracies more power is always a bad idea.

    Let the flood of wrongful termination lawsuits begin.

  7. Podunker, well argued but we disagree. Institutional control of athletic programs is needed. Boards and Presidents need to know they will be accountable by the actions of their subordinates as any good organization insures.

    In no way is an athletic department an independent body, especially in public universities where much of the money used to pay for facilities and operational expenses is paid by the taxpayers.

    Obviously, I love intercollegiate sports and wish that IU be a model of excellence and competitiveness. But, in all truth, it is that the problems of accountability, abuse of power and the insulation that allows the rampant corruption at Penn State (which I had previously believed to be a model of integrity and balance in their athletic programs) also exists- in different forms and degrees- in the NCAA and, unfortunately, in the Big Ten.

    From what I’ve read, the final structure is just now being discussed. Whatever the outcome is, athletic programs must come under the direct control of the universities they represent. The issue is not the bureaucracy; the issue is compliance, monitoring and accountability.

  8. TTG, How much more accountable can you get than losing your career job and facing criminal and/or civil actions. The problem at PSU was the vast time frame caused by the lack of justice creating the coverup. More layers of people won’t necessarily insure better results. Quite frankly and exceeding the limits of extreme morbidity taking Sandusky out and shooting him would set the example of 0 tolerance for his actions to involved with kids. We all know that is not our way. So I am sure there will be continued calls for many layers of insulation that will be earmarked as transparency.

  9. Right now I’m in Pennsylvania and though most of the “Talk Radio” opinion is that Paterno put the football program before the children who were being raped and that he should have been fired, there is a vocal minority who believes that Paterno had little to do with the Sandusky incident and absolved himself of any responibility when he reported the incient to his superiors, Sandusky wasn’t officially a part of the footall program when this occurred, neither Penn State nor the football program should be punished further, and the statue should stay. From reading this morning’s Philadelphia Enquirer, the people in State Collecge hold the above opinions even stronger and at least one trustee was recently elected on the platform of having the university apologize to Paterno for firing him. In essence, it appears as though at Penn State, if many including the trustees had it to do over again, Paterno may not have been fired. I don’t think that even the Big Ten wants to routinely make hiring decisions for Big Ten members. I do think that they want to have the authority to do so if a university refuses to do the ‘right thing’in situations such as what happened at Penn State. On a related matter, I don’t know exactly how it’s structured at Nebraska but I do know that you have to go through an ‘independent’ organization and not the University to get athletic tickets (though you can get to that organization through the UNL web site). If athletics there aren’t under the direct control of the university, then I think that’s asking for trouble. Penn State may have been a similar set-up. Even if it wasn’t, it seems clear that football wasn’t controlled by PSU and that it operated as a quasi independent entity. I think the Big Ten wants to force its members and their presidents to take control of their ‘Big Dog” athletic programs with the threat of Big Ten Conference intervention if they don’t.

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  11. Why? How many apologetic, righteous actions have to be taken before this incident is considered to have garnered enough respectful corrections. Maybe 11,637 little green men on Mars should commit suicide for the closing chapter.

  12. Clarion, what do you think would be the appropriate action for the conference, PSU and the NCAA? That’s not a loaded question; not looking to blast you. You clearly disagree with me and other contributors who’ve agreed with me on how this should be handled, so in the interest of getting different ideas on the table, I’d like to know what you’d suggest. I’ll admit, it’s very disillusioning for me and is deeply troubling, so I’m all ears to ideas on how to prevent a similar usurpation of power from school to single figure in other places in future times.

  13. It is horrible to contemplate but this whole thing may be a “too big to fail” situation because the economic impact of a death penalty would have financial consequences both to PSU and the community that are just too great to let happen. This is particularly true if one combines the loss of revenue from football operations with the significant judgements that are almost certain to be levied against PSU. I truly think that if any university deserves the death penalty, it has to be Penn State but I fear that consequences are too great to impose one. And so, the upshot may be that Penn State winds up with penalties that are relatively inconsequential. I hope I’m wrong.

  14. Tsao wrote, “Institutional control of athletic programs is needed. Boards and Presidents need to know they will be accountable by the actions of their subordinates as any good organization insures.” Good people can disagree on this.

    The statement “Institutional control of athletic programs is needed” implies that there were no institutional controls in place at Penn State. Obviously institutional controls were in place, but several key people, in leaderships positions within those institutions, having both the authority and the responsibility, failed miserably and may have committed crimes. They were complete cowards, terribly immoral, and when you really think about it, incredibly stupid. And no additional institutional control could have prevented weak and immoral people, acting with selfish “group-think” from making the wrong decisions and acting cowardly. The Big Ten Commissioner could not have prevented the tragedy at Penn Sate and he could not, after the facts emerged, done anything more to punish the guilty. It took way too long, but the institutional controls are finally beginning to take affect. Ultimately, it’s society’s institutional control, in the way of the criminal justice system and the civil courts that will punish all the guilty parties and provide a deterrent to future administrators.

    The problem at Penn State was that the people in place to maintain “institutional control” failed the institution and the society that the institutions were designed to serve. And for that, those people have been and will continue to be punished. They have lost their jobs in disgrace and their reputations have been ruined beyond repair. They are being investigated for potential criminal acts. They may be arrested, prosecuted and either fined or sentenced to prison. If found guilty of crimes, their punishments should be so severe, they will serve as an example to people in other institutions that might be tempted to cover up future criminal behavior. And if for some reason, those administrators escape criminal punishment, the civil courts will pick the flesh off their bones in public civil trials. Their lives are in ruin, and rightfully so.

    No additional institutional control could have prevented these crimes from occurring and they would be irrelevant with regard to the punishments that the guilty parties will face. None of the Penn State administrators involved are going to get another job as a college administrator. They will be lucky to stay out of prison. They will probably lose every penny they have and be forced into bankruptcy (and rightfully so). Penn State, as an institution, has and will continue to get pounded. This case will end up costing Penn Sate tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars. And perhaps even worse than that, the school’s reputation will take years, if not decades to recover, if it ever can. The State of Pennsylvania and its people will also suffer, because it’s the tax payers that will ultimately pay the tens/hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, legal fees and damages that will be paid out as a result of this tragedy. The punishment phase of this tragedy is just getting started folks.

    Institutions don’t make decisions, people do. And so, institutions are only as good as the people in them. In the case of Penn Sate, the people in those institutions failed miserably and now they’re all going to pay for their sins and/or crimes. As a result, my prediction is that, going forward, there will be far greater scrutiny about the quality of the people appointed to run the institutions at Penn State and far greater emphasis on the checks and balances in place to protect and serve the people. Ultimately, the citizens of Pennsylvania need take responsibility for this and make sure it never happens again.

    And if those citizens really want to make sure this never happens again, they need to make sure that the punishment of those convicted of crimes is so severe that no university administrator will dare to ever attempt to cover up a crime again.

  15. Eric, 1st off I have 3 sons, which allows me to say, quit tugging at your heart strings and wearing your feelings on your sleeve. It is not a good environment to formulate action. Jailing everyone in Happy Valley will not erase the memories of the victims. With the firings and resignations the culture at PSU is already transitioning. Absolutely for the better and that must continue without interruption on its own. The pending/future civil lawsuits could have the power to bring the financial soundness of the institution to a knee. That will be a $ impact for decades. PSU’s flagship is FB. That is where the alumni and fans hang their hats and now their heads. SHORT of the death penalty, create any punishment, penalties and circumstances for however many future seasons to keep their heads hanging. Hurt their tradition, pride, egos and expectations by forcing them to produce a product on the field that is nothing like they could imagine. But let the FB program continue. Being humbled is tough medicine and will be particularly tough for that crowd.


  16. Eric, forgot to add PSU will self impose their own punishment and it will not be slight by anyone’s measure. All external action should wait till after that announcement.

  17. PSU deserves at least the same fate as SMU football. Even an alum like Dustin can say without hesitation that PSU football needs to be shuttered. Heck, even the department of education is looking at PSU and removing financial aid. The economics of PSU football and the innocent PSU athletes are being punished are pure rubbish.

  18. There isn’t a gavel of punishment big enough for institutionalized degenerate acts committed against children that deserved the safe haven of a highly respected university. I think nothing short of a ten year ban from the sport would be appropriate action. Penn State moved about for decades in camouflage and deceit at the price of the innocence a child that put complete trust in their claims of morality, honor, and decency. Can any abuse of power and reputation be more perverse?

  19. “Self impose,” my ass….They had their chance to self impose upon the first hint of a beast branding his Penn State logo upon the backsides of throwaway children.

  20. The absence of anything of substance coming out of PSU suggests to me that they are trying to figure out a way to self impose sanctions but still keep the program operating with as little economic impact as possible.
    Releasing statements around whether or not Paterno’s statue is moved or taken down strikes me as a pretty sophmoric attempt to deflect attention from the real issues here. It’s pretty disgusting. PSU leadership needs to come a lot cleaner and a lot faster…their kick the can down the road and maybe this thing will blow over strategy isn’t likely to succeed.

  21. I’ve never seen a posting where DD said PSU FB needs shuttered. In fact I pretty much mimic DD’s thoughts in #’s 20-21. Self imposed penalties are the protocol of our time. They will be severe. There are 29 collegiate teams at PSU. To shut down FB will for all intensive purposes shut down and financially handicap another 27. Title IX then would not work. What did the womens golf team do to deserve that? Imposing the death penalty leaves the victims still victims. It just does not make sense.

    HfH, there are no Oscars awards on a blog.

  22. Let’s just go with an official statement of apology from Bert and Ernie(appearing oddly similar to the soulless Paterno and Sandusky) of Sesame Street wearing self-imposed PSU caps and GO PLAY SOME FOOTBALL!

    Isn’t the worrying over financial impact to the university the same warped sense of protectionism that made heads turn the other way since the onset these despicable acts? Nothing was “self-imposed” when greed(a greed protected by the highest officials overseeing all athletics at Penn State)trumped the safety of children.

    It was Penn State that chose to place so much of their identity into the halls a football program. If their identity never again sees light of day because of their choices to shroud it in honor while committing the ugliest evils imaginable against children, then so be it.

  23. We have to be careful not to confuse punishment of the institution (Penn Sate University) with punishment of the people within the institution that perpetrated the crimes and covered-up the crimes.

    If the punishment for PSU, or PSU football, is a ten year ban, all that would accomplish would be to punish innocent students and those 15 to 20 football players each year that could be denied athletic scholarships. What happened in the past at PSU was not their fault, so why punish 150 to 200 young men that are not even of age yet and the other hundreds of other people that would lose employment opportunities as a result of PSU football being shut down? That type of punishment does more harm than good.

    No, harsh punishment should be reserved for the people that committed the crimes or knowingly covered up the crimes and failed to protect innocent children. And those punishments need to be severe. Punishing a criminal should be severe so that it sends a message to others, in similar circumstances, that might one day be tempted to behave in a similar fashion. Make an example of these immoral cowards so that it is less likely anything like this will ever happen again. Significant prison terms for those PSY administrators would be appropriate for a start.

    My complaint about NCAA punishment of corrupt coaches or Athletic Directors, etc is that the punishments handed down are usually, in relative terms, just a slap on the wrist. The corrupt University of Miami football team is a classic example. What the NCAA should do is ban the most egregious coaches and administrators for life.

    As for the coach that raped and molested those boys, the death penalty sounds like an appropriate punishment. If you want to reduce child rape, make it a capitol crime and carry out the sentence for those that are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  24. “HfH, there are no Oscars awards on a blog.” (HC) That’s a funny comment!

    I agree with Podunker’s comment. It should be a very, very severe punishment that shows EVERYONE that the NCAA won’t tolerate such behavior.

  25. Do you believe the NCAA has any jurisdiction in this criminal matter? I assume the NCAA can only punish PSU for violating NCAA rules. The crimes committed by the coaches and administrators go way beyond NCAA rules violations and ironically, the NCAA may not be able to do anything about it. I really don’t know what, if anything, the Big Ten or the NCAA can do to punish PSU beyond what the criminal and civil courts, and the Pennsylvania State government are going to do. I think the crimes went beyond the NCAA’s purview.

    It should be interesting to watch this play out. But then again, American society has a very short attention span. Not sure anyone will care about this a year from now. And I’m sure it will take more than a year for the NCAA to get around to doing anything.

  26. Note: (Forgive the length, but I truly felt the issue required serious thought and a detailed argument. If anyone feels it is too long, please skip over it. No offense taken).

    Podunker, HC, first let’s agree we are debating the disagreement, nothing else. I respect you both immensely for your opinions and will continue to do so, even if we never agree on any part of this particular issue.

    I strongly believe that direct supervision by the universities and an oversight of athletic programs and their coaches by an empowered commissioner and a Big Ten monitoring commission would be a positive. Both of you, Podunker and HC (if I’ve interpreted you correctly) feel this is unnecessary and would only create a bureaucratic obstacle. HC also suggests that further punishment of Penn State would be an over-reaction, arguing that the time-lapse before the discovery of Sandusky was the real culprit leading to the cover-up.

    Two specific episodes from the train of events and history leading up to 40 or so rapes of the kids by Sandusky at Penn State; and to the cover-up by head football coach Joe Paterno, the athletic department’s hierarchy, and the leadership at Penn State University including the President, two vice-presidents and its law enforcement authorities. (No one has ever answered whether anyone on the PSU Board had knowledge of the crimes- both rape and the cover-up).

    Some five to seven years ago I remember some Penn State officials felt that as Paterno approached 80 years old new leadership should be considered. Whoever these officers were (if they are still at Penn State), they (and their idea) were quickly stepped-on and ground into the dust of Happy Valley as Paterno mobilized the football-happy alumni, former players, athletic department administrators Penn State’s fund raising interest and mobilized them to sustain the only vote that mattered; its patron, St. JoePa, the Protector. With almost no challenge, St. JoePa maneuvered in his role as Pope of Happy Valley, blessing the submissive masses genuflecting before him. StJoePa would canonize himself and only ‘He’ would decide when life as a football coach ended and immortality began.

    Underlying this process was a second and ugly truth, JoePa’s role and his iron fisted control of the athletic department and how it would handle the ‘bothersome’ allegations that fourteen kids (and, at home, his own foster son) were being thrown up against the wall in the football locker-room showers to the beat of wet skin against wet skin drumming out “JoePa! JoePa!”, while their innocence and vulnerability flowed down the drain under the nightmarish and nauseating appetites and abuse by JoePa’s favorite acolyte, the perverted Jerry Sandusky.

    JoePa, however, drew a line in the sand. Made aware of the threat to the program (always the Program), he informed Sandusky he would not be his successor, that his ‘quaint’ habits would have to stay away from official team activities and that he should keep his grunting as low key as possible. Otherwise, nothing else seems to have changed. It must have sounded something like, “here’s your permit to the locker room shower but make sure no one’s around when the pervert in you overwhelms you Jerr…Go Nittany Lions”.

    At Penn State everyone knew the chain-of-command went as far as Paterno and no further. In Happy Valley the final authority dispensing justice and determining what was important to values was the Honorable Joseph Vincent Paterno.

    Want further evidence that outside controls are important? When the Sandusky sexual assaults were finally revealed, even after they became public and the subject of network news, Penn State administrators quickly began to move documents so they would ‘disappear’ to investigators. Meanwhile, the Pope of Happy Valley, JoePa himself continued to hold court over his subjects and bless the hundreds of fans who showed up to his house that the revelations sickening this country were not a ‘football problem’.

    The Penn State problem was not a problem of the burdens of a complex bureaucracy, or of a massive hierarchy that slowed corrective actions or failed to make the institution accountable or responsive. The problem, was a very reduced, minimalist, vertical chain-of command that went from Joe Pa to the Athletic Director to the President of the University to the Vice-President for [Safety and Security] to the Campus Police all supervised and monitored and blessed by the only authority who really counted…Joe Paterno and ‘the Program’, his established culture of winning football first and decency last. Any ‘bureaucrat’ who got in the way (as Dean of Students Vicky Triponey found out), was crushed. Graham Spanier, Penn State’s President was none too subtle when he suggested she look at her future career options…elsewhere. Even the poor janitors shook under the weight of the corruption covering Penn State. “Me, see anything? You nuts? Rather take the Mafia on.”

    The Penn State case will be studied forever, especially in Political Sience and Sociology classes. Conclusion?: Power corrupts. Vertical power corrupts even more, and in two directions;…it corrupts the victims, those down the hierarchy, even way down the hierarchy; then it does a 180* turn and corrupts all the way upwards again, to its original source who becomes even more corrupted by sensing the weakness of his victims and thus, the growing strength of his own power.

    The moral lesson: Thisdoesn’t happen at Penn State alone.

    After establishing a history of serial recruiting violations at the University of Oklahoma, Kelvin Sampson was forced on Indiana University within the narrow parameters of the Board of Trustees (specifically, one or two trustees who had vested themselves with the choice of a new basketball coach) and their complicit and arrogant stooge, IU President Miles Brand, an equally lethal power-mad freak.

    Brand loved his IU autocratic power gig so much, he left to extend his private fiefdom to an even more appetizing shower room, the NCAA where an equally opaque ‘insider’s game’ busily shields the whims of the powerful at the expense of our educational institutions and students?).

    Remember Jim Tressel? At Ohio State, while commenting on its own ‘legend’, football coach Jim Tressel, The Ohio State University’s President President, E. Gordon Gee was asked whether he was considering firing Tressel over recruiting and other violations. “No, are you kidding me?” answered Gee. “Let me be very clear. I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

    Truthfully, even at IU there are flaws that create the sense major athletic programs are insulated from reality when it comes to accepting their role as part of the University and the obligation all coaches must bear and comply with. Phil Dickens in the 60’s openly challenged recruiting rules and the Big Ten’s willingness to enforce them. Certainly Kelvin Sampson felt rules did not apply to him (sustained partially by many who wrote into this very blog their belief the violations were minor). Bob Knight was an example of integrity when it came to rule compliance and enforcing the student athletes academic obligations. But, while I continue to personally feel BK was set up to be fired by Brand, there is and I must accept evidence that his ‘clout’ as a coach was out of proportion with what would have been appropriate for an institution like Indiana; and his behavior at times should have been unacceptable.

    Ironically, however, a Big Ten Commissioner empowered to intervene directly and forcefully hold him accountable to standards of behavior, may have actually prevented reaching the ‘zero tolerance’ level and avoided the situation that led to his dismissal and Indiana the subsequent pain and division it suffered.

    Unless, we have the gall and lack of ethical standards we see in Kentucky’s John Calipari who proudly and simply announces, ‘we’re different than anyone else, we’re a different type program’. Now there’s a program that hasd reduced its compliance structure and bureaucracy. Calipari tells his AD to ‘pee’ and the AD raise a leg in the air.

    No…the Big Ten is probably the most respected of the conferences (other than the Ivy League which limits the power of athletics all together) for a reason. Vesting authority and control over the coaches and an oversight and enforcement role for the Big Ten, its commissioner and compliance commission makes absolute sense. It is vital to the subsistence of intercollegiate athletics with integrity.

  27. Specific responses and comments:

    Podunker, your response #19 is brilliant in its summary of the circumstances and dilemmas. As you state, we just disagree on the answer. Every word in your statements us thought provoking.

    IUFan23, your “too big to fail observation is really good”. That does set the parameters for the paradigm change that we are undergoing as a society and that’s what is scary about our investment banking sector, LIBOR scandal and that’s what is scary about the Penn State scandal. Scary how intimately linked they are! Totally agree on the wishy-washy Penn State reaction. The responses by their Board Chair, Board members and University President were not only meek, they seemed designed to appease and distract while they go on with business as usual. One solution, IU regardless of the outcomes, IU should refuse to play them in any athletic competition next year.

    Hoosier Clarion- We agree in that the answer is not just jail time for individuals, or the $. The answer has to address the institutional and cultural problems (the Paterno/ Nittany Lion Program Cult) at Happy Valley (and elsewhere in the B1G and NCAA) just as critically and has to shape how PSU views itself in the future. The aftermath of the Sandusky crimes is the very definition of corrupt.

    Aruss- We completely agree. Our U.S. Sec. of Education is a former Harvard basketball player (and pro in Australia) and, I hope he understands the message he could give all colleges and universities by denying (even for one year or so) federal funds to PSU.

    Podunker (on #29)…here we disagree. If the punishment of those who were not directly involved (nearly everyone at PSU is a part of the same idol worshiping culture that enabled Paterno, etal to manipulate the entire place into near oblivion), so be it… pin it on the statue. If they loose their athletic programs…gee, they’d have to concentrate on educating.

    There’s a great scene in the series Band of Brothers (one of the last chapters)when the Americans walk into the town near one of the concentration camps where millions were gassed in WW2 and the locals are claiming ‘we didn’t know’. The American officers then have the locals go to the camps to clean up the ovens, gas chambers and mass graves and help the surviving camp prisoners who are so weak they can not even drink water. Podunker, you and I both know there is no innocence… except in children.

  28. PSU idol worshiping? Huh? And all this comes from the man that would erect in Wilson’s name a 400ft. pyramid of limestone for taking an unattractive job?

    Isn’t attributing every future success in a sports program into a distorted shape of reverence for only one figurehead become the basis for direct and narrow lines of power and its potential abuses thereof?

    For many years the same structures and cultural worshiping seen at PSU, the irrational reverence of a coach made into a god, surrounded the concentrated empowerment our entire university under the dictatorship of one basketball coach.

    Let’s not be so naive to think despicable acts could not just as easily find the same underside a corrupt Bloomington rug if woven and stitched in the threads of time a same irrational importance given to one man all exaggerations a reason for winning.

    Do we really believe Myles Brand was wrong for attempting to diffuse such exaggerations and the resultant distortions of winning at any cost?

  29. And let’s also not be naive to the historical abuses of power in the name of religion.

    Put a cross in front of your name and your sought after accountability and transparency are soon viewed as even greater insults against your untouchable coach/god. Soon it’s an obnoxious affront to Christ for the local Herald Times journalist to sit down and ask the coach a couple questions about scholarship numbers.

  30. Many great comments here. The whole thing at PSU stinks. It was a complete failure of so-called honorable men failing to do the right thing. That is the right thing according to society’s norms… protect children, protect the innocent, protect those that look up to you. Yet, in this case the PSU football program was the only thing deemed worthy of protection. Very sad. Young boys were tossed aside with no thought toward them at all. The dollar signs & image of the institution controlled these men’s actions. I would have thought that these learned men would have learned from the Nixon’s Watergate scandal & the mountains of study on what guided those actions/decisions. As bad & reprehensible as the accusations are the American public are rather forgiving. Just as Nixon should have manned up & admitted the involvement in the Watergate bungled burglary PSU should have manned up & addressed the issues when they first came to light 12-14 years ago. The public would not only forgive them but laud them for doing the right thing. It seems to me that the cover up, which passively condones the initial sin (the molestations), is what has become so terribly shocking to the general public. If the honorable men in charge would have done the right thing years ago the perpetrators would have been dealt with, the actions stopped immediately, young men’s lives protected, and the PSU image maintained. I agree that the systemic & institutional failures will indeed be studied in sociology/poli-sci classes for years. The best definition of integrity I know is… “doing the right thing, even though no one is watching”. The leadership at PSU failed to do their jobs. They failed to live up to their own credo. The lack of empathy towards the young victims is beyond description. Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely! With that being said I don’t think giving power to Jim Delany will do anything. It is a PR move & just another layer of bureaucracy. There were men in place that the average man would have thought would have been enough to protect the victims, & yet THEY failed to do the right thing. Something needs to be done, I agree. Why not place into these positions of authority men/women of integrity that will do the right thing and not first think about the political ramifications. I believe the=se men/women are still out there. But how do we get them into these positions of leadership? The American society can be forgiving. Trust them.

  31. It’s always the cover up that brings them down. The public has an exceeding capacity for forgiveness when the culprit fesses up. Nobody can keep their dirty laundry secret forever no matter how clever they think they are.

  32. I wonder if Myles Brand and his predecessors had made Bobby Knight stand at a podium with his hat in hand and apologize for his misdeeds, as a condition for keeping his job, from day one if he would still have evolved into a narcissistic tyrant?

    Who knows, if he had not been given free reign to do whatever inane thing he chose, without consequence, he might have become more of a benevolent, Dean Smith kind of coach.

    …and, just maybe, he could then teach pigs to fly.

  33. Thank God we now have better humans as coaches. Kevin “Win Today” Wilson, for one. Does he need a 900 lbs. statue? He doesn’t. He can reach that weight all by himself and likely will, soon.

  34. This is a part of the best column- written by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports- about the massive failure of leadership at powerful institutions such as the once respected Penn State and the drip….drip…drip effect of corrupt university leaders like Graham Spanier, its former president.

    It’ ironical that Spanier, a noted marriage and family therapist with a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern University, was immediately hired by the administration as a U.S. Defense Department adviser.

    Wetzel’s column recalls Spanier’s vocal and self-righteous intolerance for athletes who broke NCAA rules, continually calling attention to Spanier’s sacred cow, the ethics of the ‘Great Experiment’- the PSU football program.

    He (Wetzel) wrote:

    “…[Spanier] serves as the prime example of NCAA hypocrisy, arguably the single worst administrator to ever try to control, shape and domineer intercollegiate athletics…He sat on and later chaired the organization’s Board of Directors, a position arguably more powerful than NCAA president. He was on the high-level NCAA management council. He chaired the BCS Oversight Committee…

    “He was everywhere over the last decade and a half, the epitome of the faceless bureaucrat that churns out all those lopsided NCAA rules and bizarre statutes in an effort to exert an iron grip on the system…

    “The NCAA is often vilified. It isn’t the workers at the Indianapolis headquarters who deserve scorn. It’s the Spanier types, the presidents and commissioners who write the rules one committee meeting at a time (usually from a Florida beachfront hotel)…

    “He was a model of self-interest, distorted ethics and misplaced authority, much of it derived from the false concept that Penn State football operated on a higher ethical level than the rest of the country…

    “He …always made the Penn State part known. Like, ‘Well, we do it within the rules and still win at Penn State, at Penn State football. Why can’t you? Why lower the bar? What’s wrong with you?’ ”

    “It was a lie and Graham Spanier knew it. Not just in the case of Sandusky. There’s plenty more in the Freeh report. Incidents of the athletic department not following its own policies, not reporting potential violations, allowing head coach Joe Paterno’s outsized influence on discipline and other issues. For years the school didn’t even adhere to the federal Clery Act, which requires reporting crimes committed on campus…

    “…Spanier shrugged and pointed to Penn State’s ‘grand experiment.’ Meanwhile, he routinely railed about outside influences and corruption. He scolded the culture at some programs that didn’t take violations seriously. He fought for more and more statutes…The NCAA, and only the NCAA, should control everything…

    “The NCAA [is] deeper than tha…It also has considerable economic power. By creating a system that strictly polices amateurism, colleges are allowed to claim they operate amateur sports – just your average Pop Warner team – and thus avoid paying the players and taxes, a billion-dollar dodge…

    [The people who [run] college sports” said one observer, ‘use ethical arguments that create hardship for the people they are supposed to be protecting to actually mask unethical behavior.'”…

    “Everything with Penn State is in question now. That sterling graduation rate? The culture of compliance? Is anyone still so naΓ―ve they think a crew that would look the other way on Sandusky wouldn’t ignore a little aggressive tutoring or a lost drug test or three?…[How is PSU different than the University of Miami, FL?].

    “Spanier needed that illusion, though. He needed it desperately because that had become his identity… He had to crush those guys. He didn’t just want to run Penn State athletics. He wanted to determine how every other school ran its athletics…

    Last August, Spanier railed about “rampant rule-breaking and called a summit. “..if the scandals revealed anything, it was that so few coaches, administrators and players respect the rules…”

    “So”, continued Wetzel, “as we await formal charges- (it was announced today that the NCAA will announce measure against Penn State tomorrow, Monday, July 23)-, let Graham Spanier forever be the poster boy for NCAA arrogance, hypocrisy and miscast power. Let him be the face of all the organization does wrong…

    “Perhaps we can use his mug shot.”

    Following is the link for the entire original column by Wetzel.–graham-spanier-penn-state-freeh-report-joe-paterno-curtis-enis-jeff-nalley.html

    Following is a link to a story on Spanier’s hiring as a Security Adviser at the U.S. Department of Defense.

  35. Chet, I totally agree with you. The responsibility for the behavior is not only with the individuals themselves, just as much belongs to those who enabled them through inaction and acquiescence.

    Obviously, I admired RMK’s genius and brilliance as a coach, a teacher; admired him for his ethical supervision and accountability of his program to the rules and for the great importance he gave academic performance by his players.

    His behavior, as I look back, was often boorish and disrespectful, even to those who admired him. Not forcing ultimately a dis-service to him as well. No doubt it limited the perceived greatness. Privately, I have to admit, I can’t escape my share of that criticism either.

  36. But it was also the outward worshiping of Knight by alumni (much like Paterno at PSU) that set the dysfunctional backdrop for those who “enabled” him within the halls of the university.

    Universities work beyond the visible control of those with formal titles working within its campus boundaries. The many boosters, graduates, former players, and unwavering supporters of Knight with deep pocketbooks place upon the administrators a public voice of influence that speaks in loud dollars signs to more than athletic departments.

    Fans become just as much the enablers as the administrators. When there was winning, there was trivializing of foul behavior and bullying.

    Isn’t interesting how corruption within government finds headlines when the economic conditions begin to falter? When winning in the NCAA tournament began to evade Knight, suddenly those that looked the other way began to see the same man in different light. It’s rarely a hideous act or a shocking taste of corruption that forces forces those in power to suddenly become honorable and grow a conscience.. It’s only the evaporation of power due to the evaporation of outside support(support by those that have always exercised their clout with wallets and donations tied to winning and limelight upon the program), that finally becomes the straw that broke the crooked camel’s back.

    Paterno was getting old…Much like Knight, he had stayed past his welcome. The football program at PSU was already loosing a bit of its everlasting glow of prestige and dominance. Isn’t that why they pursued coming into the Big 10? The behind-the-scenes financiers begin to get nervous with regard to the program keeping in touch with a younger fan base…They begin to worry of handpicked successors from their outdated coaches. They begin to worry about the quick exits from NCAA tournaments and longer droughts between prestigious bowl appearances..Suddenly the enablers turn into headhunters. Suddenly memories are jarred of witnessing ugly things. Suddenly hypocrites are growing moral fiber rather than living by the carefree recklessness and the blinders worn during prosperous times of dominating the world with their glorious flawless coach at the helm their revered sport.

    There are exceptions, but morality is generally found when the bottomless well of dollars and wins begins to find the empty pail..It is only then that the skeletons arise with 20/20 vision and perfect sight emerges in the memories from an already dead soul..Out from the decades of old closets kept shut in deceit for wants of greed; the doors suddenly open to tell tales of despicable evil creatures living in that tiny corner of darkness that the brightest light our glory days could never unveil. We are all enablers.

  37. Regardless of which way, tomorrow the shoe drops. With the unprecedented swiftness this action is taking place I wonder if the BIG will soon become the B10+1?

  38. Someone may have alluded to this earlier, but so many still laud Paterno for running such a ‘clean’ football program and ‘playing within the rules’. Oh, really? Do you think that a man that knowingly allowed children to be raped for decades under his watch, while protecting their abuser, in order to shield his precious football program, would actually lift a finger if he learned a recruit had been paid or a transcript had been altered? You have got to be kidding. This guy would have covered up a gangland slaying at a kindergarten. I’ll bet he turned a blind eye to things that would make a Miami football or a Kentucky basketball fan cringe.

    I was going to conclude this post by including Paterno’s name with those of some evangelical pastors involved in similar scandals as an example of disgusting, pious SOBs who got exposed but my brief search of same turned up so many names it quickly became unwieldy.

    Those creeps didn’t deserve statues, either.

  39. Wouldn’t it have been great for us to have hung three of those banners under the tutelage of a John Wooden or Dean Smith? To have found success under the leadership of men whose sphere of positive influence extends far beyond the hardwood.

    I guess you can’t have it all.

    While I’m on record as not being a big fan of organized religion, I haven’t seen anything to lead me to expect that CTC will be part of any heinous act that will leave us all feeling dirty and apologizing for our fanship. There are plenty of sketchy characters out there that do. I think most of us think the Calapri implosion is simply a matter of time.

  40. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    That’s what happened at Ohio State with Woody (punching a player during the game), at IU with Bob Knight, and at PSU with JoPa. In relative terms, those men almost had absolute power because they had longevity and because they were huge winners. And big segments of our society place greater importance on winning than they do on integrity and standards of behavior. Just look at those that are bitterly complaining and protesting the removal of JoPa’s statue! Now that the facts have emerged, it’s unbelievable that anyone would object to that symbol being removed.

  41. Chet, not to be antagonistic, but in my opinion, based on first hand accounts, John Wooden coached one of the most corrupt NCAA sports program in history. UCLA basketball may have set the all-time standard of cheating and corruption for all NCAA sports.

    I have a close personal friend that played for Wooden at UCLA. He has told me countless detailed stories of how crooked that program was and the blatant cheating that he witnessed (and benefitted from) for years. No price was too high to pay a player or his family to get a kid to play for UCLA. Academic cheating was orchestrated on a grand scale. Basketball players were provided with women and drugs upon request. Bribes were paid to the LAPD to make crimes disappear, etc. According to my friend, today’s image of John Wooden qualifies as mythology, because while he was shielded from most of the details (by design), he was smart enough to know that all sorts of corruption was taking place right under his nose.

    My friend told me that he attended a UCLA reunion a few years ago. One of his teammates, who went on to play in the NBA, had attended UCLA for four years. When he arrived on campus he could not read. When he left campus four years later, he could not read. And at the reunion, some 40-plus years later, the man still could not read. He also complained that during his rookie season, after taxes, he made less money than he did during his junior and senior seasons at UCLA!

    If the details of John Wooden’s teams ever came to the surface, Wooden’s records would be expunged from the books. According to a man that was on the team, while not directly involved, Wooden was the benefactor of a totally corrupt program.

  42. You’re no doubt correct. I heard a lot of references to USC football and UCLA basketball during the discussions of PSU today. Basically, people were saying that Pete Carroll and John Wooden were average coaches until their respective ‘money men’ came on the scene. Then they became brilliant overnight. I do think that John Wooden was a step above Pete Carroll.

    I stand corrected.

  43. Talking about a culture of corruption, how about Adolph Rupp. He was caught in every imaginable form of cheating and even became the coach of the only D1 basketball team to get the ‘Death Penalty’ and Kaintuck never considered firing him. Plus, there is the fact that he was a despicable racist (but I don’t believe his fan base saw that as a negative).

  44. Podunker, you are probably right and I had heard very similar stories about UCLA during the Wooden years. The difference, unfortunately, is that there is significant evidence provided for the record in convicting Sandusky (thus far his trial) and to support the allegations of bad conduct against Joe Paterno and Penn State officials’ failure to notify the police (as required by law) of on-going child rapes, and the cover-up these felonies.

    We all suspect the corruption at UCLA. But, beyond that, we have little else at this point. We still live in a country where proof must be offered prior to conviction. And that, has not happened (yet?) at UCLA. Hopefully, it will.

    I’m just glad today’s events sends one clear message to UCLA, Wooden, Kentucky, Calipari, Tennessee, Miami of Florida and many others…(maybe even including the college presidents who have re-asserted who now must re-assert their undisputable authority over intercollegiate athletics): Be scared, be very scared!

  45. If UCLA’s corrupt behavior and cheating had been crimes, the statute of limitations would have been in affect long ago, so I seriously doubt anything will ever be done about Wooden’s bought-and-paid-for records. It really would not serve any purpose at this late stage. I’m sure the various means of cheating were compartmentalized back in those days and that no one left alive would be in position to even know the full extent of what went on at UCLA.

    Tsag, if the tragedy at PSU and the penalties being handed out don’t instill enormous fear in the hearts and minds of University officials across the country, and if those schools that are allowing such a culture to exist don’t implement significant changes, then those universities, if found to guilty of such institutional corruption, deserve even worse penalties than PSU’s punishment.

    My instinct tells me that several schools in the SEC should be candidates for significant change in policy. Where there’s smoke, there is usually fire.

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