Penn State Sanctions - why did they accept without an appeal?

I’m glad they didn’t appeal, don’t get me wrong. But it has been gnawing at me for a couple of days, so I thought I’d throw it out to you.

Why do you think they took every sanction without even considering an appeal?

The first answer is the obvious one… they want to get this behind them asap. and they are not going to fight 6 months on a sanction that will keep it in the public eye. That makes sense.

But I sense something else.

I think something else is lurking in the background that certain people at Penn State know about and hope no one finds out. If people start sniffing around, they might uncover some unsavory stuff.

What bothers me: Back in the late 90’s when Paterno and Penn State allegedly first found out about Sandusky’s behavior, instead of firing him outright and turning him over to the authorities, Paterno and the few above him that knew decided on the tragic course that we all now know. But now I’m asking why.

Personally, I don’t think Paterno believed for a moment that firing and turning Sandusky in would reflect poorly on Paterno or the University. I keep hearing talk about how they all wanted to protect Penn State and Paterno’s legacy. But how could a pedophile, who was outed, fired and arrested have any negative consequences to Paterno’s legacy? If anything, turning Sandusky in would have strengthened Paterno’s legacy as an honest and forthright guy, willing to do the right thing no matter how it hurt a good friend in Jerry Sandusky, or how it might negatively impact PSU, if at all.

They didn’t fire him outright. Why? Sandusky, as many of you know and has been discussed on the board was a very highly regarded coach, who was interviewed and offered head coaching jobs over the years. When he was fired from Penn State, eyebrows were raised that he never went anywhere. He was in line for the head coaching job after Paterno retired, but that went away after the firing. So why did Sandusky stay?

I suspect that what Paterno was truly afraid of is a recruiting scandal, one which would have buried the pious and above board Paterno. THAT’S what he was afraid was going to tarnish his legacy.

Sandusky was a major recruiter, and a great one. So it isn’t hard for me to believe that they went to fire Sandusky and he said, “well, if you do that, I am going to open the doors on everything I know about recruiting violations.” All of a sudden, he’s given an office on campus and has access to everything in the football department, including the showers. There was an uncomfortable truce between Sandusky, Paterno and the school.

My guess is that Paterno had so much power and he was so focused on being the winningest coach in Division 1, that he pressured the administration to go along with him and keep Sandusky around… sort of at arms length, so you always have an idea where he is and what he’s up to. But more importantly, who he’s talking to.

Maybe it was a recruiting scandal for the ages. Maybe it wasn’t, but was going to cost Joe a season or two of wins, which at his age he couldn’t afford to lose if he wanted the record.

As disgusting as the Sandusky discovery and then cover-up was, it certainly wasn’t a PSU football scandal at the time, nothing that would cost Paterno wins, for example. Sandusky’s raping of children wasn’t helping the team win any games, so I doubt the NCAA would have done anything to Paterno or Penn State at that time that would have impacted the school or Paterno negatively.

No, there is something else here. Something that Paterno was willing to sacrifice innocent kids for. What could that have been? Other than a recruiting scandal, run by Paterno and Sandusky, that is? This seems to be the only thing that fits here.

Anyone have any other ideas or thoughts on my theory? Or different reasons why Paterno did what he did?

I’m not sure if it’s implied in your OP, but they agreed not to appeal in exchange for these “lesser” sanctions. I don’t believe they have the option to appeal. But your OP still stands in why Penn St. would agree with the NCAA to forfeit the option to appeal the ruling once it came down.

Apparently they were threatened with a 4 year death penalty if they fought these sanctions.

I have a really hard time believing that Joe Paterno would be cowed in the least if Sandusky came at him with a threat about recruiting violations. Taking on the full force of Penn State football would have been a suicide mission even WITHOUT the baggage of being a disgusting boy-rapist. If Paterno wanted Sandusky gone, he would have been gone, probably cloaked in some kind of “he wanted to spend more time with his family” BS to make it easier to explain away to the public. I am going to go with misguided loyalty to a longtime friend and colleague as Paterno’s motivation.

Let’s face it. He was cowed by something.

Remember, Paterno had a stellar reputation for running a clean program. For doing it the right way. Think about the Paterno we know now. One who was willing to overlook the behavior of a rapist/pedophile for “the good of the program and the reputation of the university”. That sounds strange considering Sandusky would be going to jail if he was outed. Paterno’s reputation as well as the university’s rep would have remained intact. Quite frankly, there is no possible reason I can see for Paterno and/or the school allowing this guy to have an office on campus and keys to different buildings, yet alone not turning him in. This was more than a favor. This was a decision made with Sandusky still holding something over the school and/or Paterno.

WTF would the President of PSU care if Sandusky went to jail? or the other PSU decision makers? these guys all got together and discussed what to do. If Paterno was able to tell these guys to get bent when they wanted to fire him, what kind of gun did he have pointed to their collective heads?

Anything that looks like they were ‘fighting the penalties’ just looks horrible. They were going to get bitch-slapped HARD. The PR disaster that would entail from a six-month long appeal wasn’t going to be worth it even if (for the sake of discussion) they got the penalty down to, say, a bowl ban of 3 yrs instead of 4 yrs, or whatever.

After 15 years of cover-up, PSU needs to do everything they can to show that they ‘get it’. There’s really no way you can appeal the penalties (‘but think of the children!’ ‘why should we? You clearly didn’t’.) without looking really really bad.

He didn’t need a gun, he was the most powerful man on campus. They had asked him to retire earlier and he said no because he didn’t want to. There’s no need to suppose additional scandals to explain the situation.

Look at the record: in the year 2000, right before the most damning emails surfaced, the Nittany Lions were NOT a football powerhouse. They were just 5-7, and the Penn State administration was already looking for ways to push JoePa out the door. Over the past 10+ years, there have been MANY behind-the-scenes efforts to get him to retire. Bobby Bowden faced the exact same pressures at Florida State for the same reasons.

Joe Paterno HAS been an untouchable icon at different points in his career, but a LOT of people at Penn State have long thought he was over the hill and needed to be replaced. And Joe knew that. He was NOT as all-powerful as many people assume. He KNEW he had to start winning again fast, and he knew he couldn’t afford any scandals that would give his detractors ammunition to use against him.

That’s one reason the Penn State program, which USED to be squeaky clean, started recruiting a lot of thugs and creeps they never would have gone after before- Joe needed to win, and he couldn’t afford to be picky about moral character. Hence, there were more criminal incidents involving players since 2000 than in all Paterno’s earlier years.

Joe did an evil thing, but I don’t believe it was out of arrogance- rather, I think he was running scared, because his job WASN’T as safe as many people assume.

This is it. All the people there now were not involved in the scandal. They have to be shown as getting it.

Remember, Penn State hired Freeh. It was their own report that got them the penalty.

I know this topic has been dead for a while, but I feel it is important to ad what I have come across in the news.

I have not been following the scandal on a daily basis, since there have not been any big breaking stories scrolling across the bottom of the screen lately.

However, in an article I stumbled on dated Wed., July 25 claims the NCAA had a little meeting with Penn State before the sanctions were imposed. A spokesman for PSU, David La Torre states that a discussion was held between some NCAA officials and PSU President Rodney Erickson. In that discussion, the NCAA told Erickson that it was contemplating a 4 year death penalty for the football program.

With that nugget of news, it seems very clear that Erickson accepted the harsh terms without so much as a whimper because he knew what the alternative was. He felt pretty lucky to not get a one-year death penalty, and even though what PSU received was a registering punishment, a 4 year death penalty would have truly killed that program for decades. At least now, it is believed, PSU has a chance to come back from these penalties in 10-15 years.

I guess it all remains to be seen. But in this light, it makes sense to me why there was no appeal.

PSU is not like SMU. It still will be able to attract football players when the ban is lifted. However, how quickly they become relevant again is going to depend on recruiting.and luck. They will not get a blue chip player for the next 4 years at least and probably longer. They will be a perennial doormat of the big 10 for years. They will be able to attract kids that either always wanted to play at PSU, and/or marginal Div. 1 players with no other Div. 1 scholarship offers. But then, they will have to compete with some excellent Div 2 programs that win every year and will be in the post-season.

So, what you are looking at is a kid that might play at Indiana Univ. of PA (IUP) getting a chance to play at the Div 1 level at PSU. But the kids that are the cream of the crop of the Div 2 ranks, like say Flacco of Delaware, Or Westbrook of Villanova, for example… They will also get offers to play at a few D-1 schools that don’t have sanctions, or D-2 schools at the top of the heap. Let’s face it. Unless PSU wins, kids with dreams of playing pro will go to a top Div-2 program or a Div-1 program without bowl restrictions.

I think I’ve seen the last of PSU football competing at the national level for at least 20 years.

IMO, you are probably right about the 15-20 yr time period. But it could be much quicker.

Pennsylvania is hotbed of High School Talent. And, unlike SMU, there is not a bunch of Div 1 Pennsylvania Universities competing for that talent. Pitt and Temple?

I can see once the penalties that a the head football coach can start talking to booster clubs around the state with a “Restore Penn St Football” platform and get the blue chippers coming back to PSU.

It will take awhile, and I think it can be done. With the right coach and the right platform.

One problem is, how does Penn State make up for the $12 million per year for five years, keeping in mind that (a) they cannot cut any funds from any other sports, and (b) they won’t be getting any of the Big 10’s BCS money over those five years? On top of that, they must have at least six men’s sports, and even if there wasn’t a requirement to have at least six women’s sports as well (one of which must be basketball), there’s still Title IX to take into account.

Then again, they can’t cut football spending to the point where the amount spent on men’s sports doesn’t match the appropriate percentage of men (I can’t remember if it’s percentage of the student body or percentage of athletes). There is nothing in Title IX that says that it applies only to help women’s sports.

What makes you think there were decision makers other than Paterno. This is a guy that when the Universtity President fired him, he said, “No, I don’t think so” and kept his job.

I have thought about this, and there is some hope for PSU on your points. Another point is that PSU may benefit from the legacy factor… Family blood lines flow long at PSU. Kids coming of age in Pennsylvania might feel a responsibility to help restore to promenance the school that dad, uncle or grandad went to.

Who knows? But Pitt will be a bigger factor you may think since they are going to be in the ACC next year. Kids could stay in the state and play for bowls, and they will have plenty of opportunities to be on TV. Things are different for most kids now. I think loyalty may have been a bigger thing 20 years ago, but still it could help. Personally, I see any kid that has pro aspirations going to the best situation for himself he can find. I doubt that will be Penn State.

The coach will also play a huge role. Who that will be is anyone’s guess, but bring in someone like Nick Saban, anythings possible.


Think about the kid in Scranton, or Harrisburg, or York. Of relatively limited means. Mom and Dad are going to make the trip to Happy Valley for home games a lot easier than they would in Tuscaloosa, Ann Arbor or Austin.

A co-worker’s son was a player at Mizzou, and he and his wife drove to (almost) all the home and road games. He was pretty worthless at work after Road games to Lincoln, Lubbock, Austin and Ames

I’m confused why you bring this up now; RaftPeople mentioned it on the 25th.

Well, the Paterno family is stepping up to the plate and trying to appeal the sanctions; don’t see how they would have standing, but will be interesting to watch:

Paterno family to appeal NCAA sanctions against Penn State

Four members of the board of trustees and a group of former players have also now lodged appeals.

Wouldn’t the fact that they’ve been trying to fire him for over two decades but couldn’t actually prove he was all-powerful?

What makes all this appeal stuff funny is that the NCAA has already pointed out there is no appeals process. The Paternos and trustees just think they have a lot of public support or cachet that they plainly do not have following this scandal.