There are a lot of reasons the NCAA is in a tough spot on what to do with Penn State over its inaction over Jerry Sandusky, its tragic over-allegiance to Joe Paterno, and the perhaps criminal negligence of its administration. But I thought Rick Bozich isolated a good one in his column today -- Penn State isn't the only one making athletics bigger than life.
The following quote should be enough to show you how far this reverence for Paterno went. Read this quote about Paterno from December, 2010:
"His ‘total-person' approach to student-athletes, emphasizing academics and personal accountability is a terrific example of everything the NCAA stands for. Coach Paterno has distinguished himself to the world by his wins on the field, but he has endeared himself to thousands of student-athletes who have learned through his leadership that success in the classroom and in life is the greatest accomplishment. For me Coach Paterno is the definitive role model of what it means to be a college coach."
The speaker? NCAA president Mark Emmert. And the occasion was announcing that Paterno would be presented the one of the NCAA's highest honors: The Gerald R. Ford Award. Paterno was given a standing ovation by a roomful of academic and administrative officials that night -- something that rarely happens.
I want you to think about this. On Jan. 13, 2011, Joe Paterno was presented this award. On Jan. 12, 2011, one day earlier, he was before a Grand Jury testifying about what he'd been told about Jerry Sandusky.
In the end, I think the NCAA needs to punish what it can punish from its bylaws, and to leave aside what it can't punish from its bylaws -- because those penalties would pale in comparison to the crimes, anyway.
If ever a school needed to do without football for a season, it's this one, and if university leadership were stronger, that's what it would do. But that's not going to happen, and in the absence of that, everything else is just symbolic.
It seems too simplistic to say that a great many people, the NCAA included, were duped by a lot of things. But a great many of us were duped willingly.
Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter
Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:11 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:11:28 GMT
(AP Wires/WDRB) -- Oxbow has won the Preakness, ruining Orb's bid to capture the Triple Crown. Oxbow led from start to finish. It was the sixth Preakness victory for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne LukasMore >>
Oxbow has won the Preakness, ruining Orb's bid to capture the Triple Crown.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:54 AM EDT2013-05-18 11:54:38 GMT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Longtime golf commentator and 1964 U.S. Open champion Ken Venturi died today, and there's nearly no need to add to the tributes that surely will come, because there's a greatMore >>
Ken Venturi left a lasting memory in Louisville when he opened Hunting Creek Country Club's championship course with a record that still stands, and with a simple gesture to a sportswriter 25 years later.More >>
Tuesday, May 14 2013 5:25 PM EDT2013-05-14 21:25:36 GMT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I like Andrew Wiggins. Here's a kid who didn't want to make a spectacle of his recruitment, despite being the top-ranked basketball recruit in the nation and being hailed as theMore >>
Eric Crawford surveys the carnage of the Andrew Wiggins circus, and ponders what it means for the future of civilization.More >>
Sunday, May 12 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-13 03:30:46 GMT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Alabama football coach Nick Saban simply said out loud what people have been talking about for some time last week during a stop on his offseason "Crimson Caravan."RespondingMore >>
Alabama coach Nick Saban's idea for power conference football team to play only teams from other elite conferences sounds good -- but most programs would never accept it.More >>
Saturday, May 11 2013 10:26 AM EDT2013-05-11 14:26:43 GMT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The NCAA basketball rules committee has wrapped up its most recent round of talks with more tweaks.It didn't reduce the shot clock, but it did try to streamline the video reviewMore >>
Ten suggestions to get the game of college basketball moving again. More >>
Thursday, May 9 2013 4:47 PM EDT2013-05-09 20:47:58 GMT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Welcome to the Life Aquatic of Rick Pitino. At a time when most of college basketball is fixated on who will land the biggest fish on the recruiting trail -- Andrew Wiggins --More >>
University of Louisville basketball coach is living it up post-NCAA championship. The latest: He landed an 80-pound white marlin and a Maker's Mark commemorative bottle.More >>
Thursday, May 9 2013 2:14 PM EDT2013-05-09 18:14:01 GMT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- By this point, the University of Louisville's 2013 football schedule has been the butt of more jokes than airplane food. But over the past couple of weeks, the program has alsoMore >>
Positive press in the offseason could mean a lot for a University of Louisville football program hoping to receive respect in 2013 season polls. More >>
Wednesday, May 8 2013 8:43 PM EDT2013-05-09 00:43:18 GMT
NOTE: I write this with the knowledge that the only people who may find interest are a few fellow journalists. It's a personal reflection, meant more to share a perspective than to influence action. Thanks.LOUISVILLE,More >>
Eric Crawford offers a personal reflection on the change of venue for writers and other media covering the Kentucky Derby.More >>
Wednesday, May 8 2013 7:34 AM EDT2013-05-08 11:34:38 GMT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Not-so humble brag: The last column I wrote about the NBA and Louisville was longer than the just-released Executive Summary of a Greater Louisville Inc. commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopersMore >>
Today's GLI-commisioned study on Louisville's suitability for the NBA shed little new light on the issue, but some reaction to it did.More >>