Chris Graham: Keep pretending, Penn State
The NCAA sanctions on Penn State taking scholarships away, banning the team from postseason play and imposing a fine roughly equivalent to a year’s worth of football program-related revenues are appropriate.
The part where the NCAA vacated the program’s wins dating back to 1998 is roughly equivalent to what the higher-ups at Penn State are said to have done that caused the ongoing furor in the first place.
Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier et al pretended that former assistant Jerry Sandusky wasn’t raping little boys. OK, so now the NCAA is pretending, for starters, that Penn State didn’t actually outscore 111 other teams in games spanning the intervening 14 seasons.
But they did.
Larry Johnson really did run roughshod over a swiss-cheese UVa. defense back in 2002. I saw it; it wasn’t pretty.
Adam Taliaferro really didn’t break his neck in a game in 2000. (Thus meaning he didn’t have to rehab his way back to being able to walk again. All in his imagination, and ours.)
Penn State also seemed to play in an awful lot of Outback Bowls in that period. (For the record, though, it was only two. Along with a couple of Capital Ones and a couple of Alamos, and one TicketCity. And one Orange and one Rose.)
Penn State won its share of those games, including one over Bobby Bowden’s Florida State in the 2005 Orange Bowl. That one was a classic – three OTs, came down to a field goal at the end. Good ballgame.
We’re now supposed to pretend that it didn’t happen that way.
Just like we’re apparently supposed to pretend that Sandusky hadn’t been investigated in 1998 and that prosecutors decided not to press charges against Sandusky, and that they and the police and psychologists who took part in that investigation don’t also share some of the blame for what went on in Happy Valley.
And also we’re supposed to pretend that digging up a man’s bones and pissing on them in a sort of perverted cleansing ritual is going to somehow wash away the sins of the monster who perpetrated unspeakable horrors and the institution that failed to take action once it found out what was going on.
There’s a lot of pretense these days involving Penn State. Don’t let yourself get caught up in thinking that it ended when they took the statue of JoePa down.