Monday, August 5, 2013

Sandusky, Hernandez, and Governing Bodies (Part I)

We already know former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is a monster (convicted serial rapist and pedophile – should have been sentenced to death). Penn State’s football program paid dearly for Sandusky’s actions when the NCAA involved itself for the first time ever in a non-football criminal case (Sandusky’s actions did not help the Penn State team win games by cheating – in fact, Sandusky was no longer employed by the school when he committed most of his crimes) . The NCAA leveled four years of sanctions including massive fines, loss of scholarships, lenient transfer policies, forfeiture of previous games, and a ban on bowl games. The State College Pennsylvania business community will also suffer when football attendance goes down when the team is no longer competitive. The NCAA argued that Penn State put winning football games above all else by protecting Sandusky. Maybe this true, but Penn State was the only Division I NCAA program to never be sanctioned in any sport. Hence, Penn State played within NCAA rules and guidelines better than any other school in history – and that argument still holds true today. Since the Sandusky crimes did not violate any NCAA rule, the NCAA decided to make this one time exception and make up the rules as they saw fit – a power grab.

In 2011, 7% (1 out of 14) of all Division I football players were arrested. About 40% of these arrests were because of a violent offense (mostly assault – i.e. bar fights). I did not count DUI as a violent offense, but it can be if there is an accident. In all cases, the NCAA did not intervene (even in cases of rape, murder, and attempted murder) and allowed schools and local judicial systems to hand out punishments as they saw fit. After all these types of crimes were not considered cheating and ultimately did not provide their team an unfair advantage over another team on the playing field. What made the Sandusky case different – it involved children. However, our justice system does not necessarily feel crimes against children are any worse than violent crimes against adults based on sentences. A person who rapes an 18 year receives the same sentence as a person who rapes a 12 year old in most states. The NCAA decided to prioritize and rank crimes. Is it right for the NCAA to look the other way when a football player rapes a fellow student, but intervene if the crime was committed against a youth? This is certainly not consistent.

Ex-Florida Gator and New England Patriot tight end, Aaron Hernandez, is not equal to Jerry Sandusky – at least not yet. If Hernandez is found guilty of killing Odin Lloyd (execution style); if he is found to be complicit in a 2012 unsolved double homicide; and if he found guilty of the 2012 shooting of Alexander Bradley; then Hernandez is also a monster (serial killer). And let’s not forget the police are still investigating the death of a Hernandez coconspirator in the Lloyd shooting (car accident).

I have long said the NCAA was wrong to issue itself one time power to interfere and intervene in the Sandusky case. This set a bad precedent. I argued that this would be no different than the SEC punishing a company with fines and penalties because one of its chief officers was a serial pedophile. This action hurts all the innocent people who work at the company especially when the stock price tumbles. In other words, this action punishes more innocent people than guilty ones. The same can be said for the NCAA actions against Penn State.


  1. Well I certainly agree with you, Patrick. This punishment was about the folks at the NCAA thinking about themselves and wanting to prove to everyone how much they care about children. It was Sandusky and certain administrators that were at fault. Make THEM pay the price, not the team.

    Good post.

    1. In a recent hearing for the Penn State administrators facing cover up charges, a few of the witnesses claimed Paterno said the University's handling of the case was poor and predicted he would be the scapegoat down the line.

    2. SOMEBODY's got to be a scapegoat! Although, anyone in charge who knew what was going on and did nothing deserves some serious consequences of their own.