Scott Cavanagh
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NCAA is not the Justice Department 

Tuesday, July 24, 20012

  By Scott Cavanagh
The NCAA is the governing body of college athletics--not an arm of the legal system.

That organization's recent punishment of Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal set a strange and dangerous precedent. What authority does the NCAA have to fine a tax-payer-funded public institution $60 million for behavior that had nothing to do with current player or coaching staff behavior, eligibility, recruiting or academics?

The American justice system has been handling this situation just fine without the NCAA. Sandusky committed horrible crimes, has been convicted of those crimes and will die in prison--a punishment befitting his actions. Joe Paterno is dead, and therefore cannot defend himself. The others involved—Curley, Spanier and Schultz—have all been fired and are all now facing criminal prosecution.

The kids who were violated and damaged by Sandusky’s actions and the ensuing cover-up are in the process of filing literally hundreds of civil suits against PSU—which will most likely result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Again, the system is working just fine.

The NCAA is incapable of even updating its ridiculous and arcane rule book. It does not even have the power to fire a coach, but somehow it now believes it can step in to this serious matter and play junior Justice Department.

Penn State did not win or fix any games, jigger any grades or award any illegal benefits through Sandusky's crimes or the cover-up. An athletic association's involvement in this matter should end there.

Billion dollar taxpayer-funded institutions of higher learning with obligations and commitments to the well-being and futures of thousands--in this case tens of thousands--of students, faculty, alumni, employees and taxpayers all over the world cannot be held accountable to the sanctimonious and self-serving decisions of some semi-regulated, quasi-affiliated football/basketball television network posing as the protector of amateur athletics.

What happens now when a student that happens to be a basketball player rapes a girlfriend, or a football player assaults a fellow student, or a student dies from alcohol poisoning at a baseball dorm?

Is the NCAA--a national institution-- now going to step in each time and steal millions of in-state taxpayer dollars that would otherwise pay for the educations and jobs of thousands of blameless students and workers by slamming the university with crippling fines and penalties? That prospect is particularly galling when you consider that those same people are already paying for the legal system that will be trying those cases--both criminal and civil-- in the first place.

PSU football should have gotten the death penalty for a year and a loss of scholarships for a period of years thereafter. All other punishments should have been, have been and will continue to be handled by the legal system--not the jokers at the ridiculous and corrupt NCAA. They are way out of their jurisdiction here.