Oh, how I wish the politicians of Pennsylvania would stop kissing the ring of Penn State football.
The king — Joe Paterno — may be dead, but the kingdom is very much alive. A quick Google News search for “Penn State” turns up headline after headline about new coach James Franklin and speculation about the forthcoming 2014 football season. That might not be so unusual — it’s late July, practices are about to begin — except that the results of that page are similarly football-heavy all year round, whether the season’s around the corner or not.
One reason Gov. Tom Corbett starts his re-election campaign in such a deep hole, poll-wise, is that there are a whole lot of people in this state who love Penn State — and a whole lot of them are still fans of the late football coach Joe Paterno. A whole lot of them blame Corbett for how Paterno and the university so messily divorced — there is, at the extreme end, this online petition — citing Corbett’s handling of the investigation into Jerry Sandusky to Corbett’s actions as a voting trustee on Penn State’s board. Corbett on Thursday tried to dig his way out of the hole, telling the Associated Press that he had “never” condemned Paterno for failing to report Sandusky — and that he regretted Penn State fired Paterno by phone instead of in person: Read more »
The man who brought you the giant statue of Frank Rizzo across the street from Philadelphia’s City Hall is now giving Joe Paterno the treatment — designing an alumni-supported sculpture that will sit two miles from where a memorial to the late Penn State football coach was pulled down in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Suddenly, Penn State football fans have some hope. Maybe, just maybe, they’re going to get their bowl games back. Maybe, just maybe, Saturdays in Happy Valley will have some luster restored. Maybe, just maybe, the dark shadow of Jerry Sandusky will begin to recede.
Maybe. But I hope not.
Everything hinges on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, which last week announced it was prepared to examine the sanctions imposed by the NCAA in the wake of the Sandusky affair. In a case over how the $60 million fine paid by Penn State could be used, Judge Anne Covey said the rest of the punishment — the bowl ban; the deletion of Joe Paterno from the record books — could also be under review.
PennLive reports that Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court is prepared to examine — and perhaps overturn — the NCAA’s $60 million fine and four-year bowl ban on Penn State, sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky case. Penn State, you’ll recall, agreed to the sanctions in a consent deree with the NCAA.
That possibility was opened in a ruling upholding a state law — passed after the punishments were imposed —requiring the fine money “be used exclusively for child sexual abuse prevention and treatment in Pennsylvania.”
Dottie Sandusky told Today that her husband, Jerry, is innocent of all the child molestation accusations that put him in prison and brought an end to the career of his longtime boss, longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno. Her interview aired this morning.
CBSSports.com reports: “Penn State University Board of Trustees member Alvin Clemens announced his resignation Friday, the Associated Press reported, saying that the Board’s 2011 decision to fire Joe Paterno represented a ‘rush to injustice.’”
Bill O’Brien was quoted a couple weeks ago insulting the “Paterno People,” saying he didn’t give a “$*%@*” about them. This morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show, he says he regrets the language. (But leaves open the possibility that he still doesn’t give a “$*%@” about them!)
“I apologize to anybody that took that conversation obviously the wrong way. I regret that conversation, but again, Penn State’s a special place and they’re going to be in great shape in the coming years.”
He also said the “Paterno People” are not the reason he left Penn State. Which was probably a reasonable thing to emphasize.