Sandusky Abused Children, NCAA Abuses History

One of the NCAA’s punishments of Penn State was the vacating of all its football team’s wins from 1998 through 2011. It was in 1998 that Penn State coach Joe Paterno and university officials became aware of the accusation that assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had showered with a young boy.

As a result, Penn State’s 112 wins are no longer wins, and Joe Paterno is no longer the coach with the most wins in college football history. Instead of 409 victories, his record shows 298.

Before explaining why this decision is morally wrong, I should note that I consider what Jerry Sandusky did to be an indescribable evil. I recognize that Joe Paterno and the university officials enabled this evil to continue. And I do not take issue with the other NCAA punishments of Penn State.

But it is worrisome that there has been virtually no outcry against the terrible wrong committed by the NCAA’s rewrite of history.

Unless Joe Paterno and/or Penn State won those 112 games illegally or immorally, they are wins. No amount of wrongdoing by anyone at Penn State allows anyone to change history. This is another example of how the road to hell is paved with good intentions — in this case, punishing Penn State and teaching everyone how terrible covering up child abuse is.

In our generation, we have seen truth not merely reduced as a value; it has been more or less removed from the list of virtues. History is increasingly what politically correct people want it to be.

In California, the country’s largest purchaser of school texts, elementary and high school students, by law, must learn about the contributions to California and America of women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor. This year, the California legislature passed another law — the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act — which mandates teaching the contributions of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

That American history is dominated by the contributions of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant males is irrelevant to all those who see history as a feel-good exercise, not the relating of what actually occurred. As the 325,000-member California Teachers Association, which has contributed so mightily to the decline of education in California, said in support of the LGBT bill: “We believe that school curriculum materials should adequately portray the diversity of our society.”

In other words, according to California’s teachers, the purpose of education is not to teach truth, it is to “adequately portray the diversity of our society.”

In defending the new California law, Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, said, “There is no room for discrimination of any kind in our classrooms, our communities or our state.”

But, by definition, history does discriminate. A history of classical music will discriminate in favor of Austrians and Germans. A history of jazz will discriminate in favor of blacks. And a history of the founding of America will discriminate in favor of WASP males. Otherwise they are not histories.

Whatever evil Joe Paterno and Penn State officials failed to stop, the 112 wins are wins.

Where will the NCAA draw its line? What other wrongs that have nothing to do with victories on the playing field will the NCAA nullify?

The lesson the NCAA is teaching young people — that history and truth don’t matter if enough powerful people don’t want them to matter — can be as injurious to society as the cover up was to the victims of Sandusky.

And not only to society. To individuals as well.

Thanks to the NCAA history rewrite, all those completely innocent Penn State football players who played their hearts out to win those 112 games, played for naught. The false NCAA history will record that they never won a game.

And what about the impact on former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who is now listed as the winningest coach in American college football history? Until the NCAA revision of history, he had the rather impressive title of second-most winning coach in American college football history. Now, he will be dogged by a permanent, though unwritten, asterisk next to his name.

If, as the NCAA report charges, Penn State’s silence spoke volumes about Penn State’s culture, what does America’s silence in the face of the NCAA falsification of history say about ours?

  • Carla Kendall

    The problem is that Paterno is dead, so its impossible to punish him.  He was smart enough, evil enough, trusted enough, and powerful enough to outlive punishment.

    If they dug his body up and threw it in a cesspool, that would be a start, but Penn State will defend Paterno like parents defend their children.

    Given that, what punishment would you recommend?  If you say that Penn State should get a 4+year “death penalty” for football, that’s a start, with ALL students given a refund for last year’s tuition if they decide to transfer.

    The NCAA wants to remove Paterno’s name from any legacy issues, which is a start, since Paterno craved that record of 409 wins, and he knew that the Sandusky scandal woulds stop that.  Paterno made a clear decision that he would sacrifice those children for his chance at that record and that legacy.  The NCAA got to take that away.

    This was the NCAA’s only jurisdiction.  If the Sandusky scandal became public in 1998, its unlikely Paterno would have gotten the record, so Paterno got a huge competitive advantage by hiding it, and the NCAA can regulate that.

    Good start by the NCAA.  Shame more couldn’t be done to show that Paterno’s true legacy was hiding a child rapist, and allowing other children to be raped so that he could get a football record.

  • terry


  • Gideon

    You are right, Dennis. Ruling the victories forfeited was a shameful act by the academic pencil-necks who envy the importance and success of the athletes. The athletes did no wrong but are being retroactively punished by vindictive wimps.

  • terry


  • terry


  • Bruce A.

    My qusetion for the NCAA Governing  board.  
    Had the NCAA known about the coverup etc. going on in PSU, would they have stepped in to correct things or  joined in because they liked the amount of money the football program brings in for college athletics etc.

  • Bastardpiece Theater

     I am not a Penn State fan,and not much of an NCAA fan but I do agree with you. However, whenever I try to make my argument I get shouted down as if I helped Sandusky molest kids.
    Everyone needs to step back from the emotion of this. Paterno was a great coach and won those games. He was told some stuff, and he reported it to his bosses. He was stuck in the middle. Should he have done more? Of course.  That however does not negate that he did pass on the information.
    Also, lets be honest. He was a great coach and he helped a lot of people get better at football, and life. I hate Barry Bonds and I know he cheated, but the fact is, he did hit those home runs. His name is in the record books.
    The NCAA is a joke. It always has been and it gets worse by the year. This is amazing that they think they can just white wash history like this.
    Is OJ Simpson in the Hall of Fame? Case closed!

  • DOOM

    They committed a crime beginning in 1998 by not reporting child rape.  That pretty much makes the wins illegal, as they should have been at least too busy in court to win any games.

    Unless someone can give me the pro child rape cover up argument.

  • Brian_Bayless

    The NCAA is a hypocritical, joke of an association. Punishing the players is not relevant to what Sandusky did.

  • MerchantofVenom

    I agree a 100%. This is a lose, lose situation:

    I am trying to look at this from both sides. I see strong arguments for each, and its much more serious then a “OSU tattoo”. But in the final summary, and although a lot of mistakes were made, the students, the athletes, the faculty, the community are paying the price for the actions of one man… Jerry Sandusky. The fact is these people had absolutely nothing to do with this. To me this goes far beyond football. You’re talking about life or death of a university chartered in 1855!
    Sandusky is going to jail. Those who covered for him should also be brought to justice, but don’t screw the entire school. This isn’t about football sanctions, its about a crime and those seeking justice. For all intense and purposes, Penn St is officially dead. When a dog gets fleas you don’t blame the dog.  Sad to see Paterno’s illustrious career go up in smoke. I guess the comment he made “I should have done more” sealed his in own doom.

    Then again, maybe I’m full of it. If someone told me 2 years ago two of the most “straight laced” coaches in college football (Tressel and Paterno) would be thrown out in disgrace… I would have told them… they were full of it.

    PS: I could see Obama on TV now…Paterno didn’t win those games…someone else did that.This time he’s right. Bowden takes over as winningest coach.

  • Rick Johnson

    I’ve watched 50 years of NCAA punishments. They have almost always been screwed up. This is just the worst yet. If I’m around another 60 years, I doubt I’ll see any improvement. The courts will deal with the criminals. The NCAA has punished too many that had nothing to do with this; including past, present, and future athletes.