July 23, 2012

The Culture Problem

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 12:19 pm

Some of the choice words from NCAA President Mark Emmert:

“As we evaluated the situation, the victims affected by Jerry Sandusky and the efforts by many to conceal his crimes informed our actions,” said Emmert. “At our core, we are educators. Penn State leadership lost sight of that.”

According to the NCAA conclusions and sanctions, the Freeh Report “presents an unprecedented failure of institutional integrity leading to a culture in which a football program was held in higher esteem than the values of the institution, the values of the NCAA, the values of higher education, and most disturbingly the values of human decency.”

“We cannot look to NCAA history to determine how to handle circumstances so disturbing, shocking and disappointing,” said Emmert. “As the individuals charged with governing college sports, we have a responsibility to act. These events should serve as a call to every single school and athletics department to take an honest look at its campus environment and eradicate the ‘sports are king’ mindset that can so dramatically cloud the judgment of educators.”

Strong words, but do they really mean anything in the big picture of trying to send a message about the culture where, ” ‘Sports are the king’ mindset”?

I doubt it. Penn State was served up as the pound of flesh. But little changes

They deserved their punishment. Don’t get me wrong on that. I may have some qualms about the whole procedure and aspects, but Penn State had something big coming.

I can’t honestly say that this will do jack for the football or sports is king culture. What happened within seconds of digesting the penalties, their impact and the fact that Penn State players will be able to transfer with immediate eligibility?  The flurry began about how to grab kids from Penn State. About the present verbals and poaching them.

I don’t pretend to be innocent or any better. I was trying to figure out how many open scholarships Pitt had on its roster for transfers (six spots and thin at OL, DL and LB), and then available scholarships with potential decommits from PSU. Who Pitt might target.

The beast continues. The punishments today were necessary. But their impact to changing the culture. Nil.

The Nittany Lyings got off easy!

Comment by Rich CAS 1970 07.23.12 @ 8:09 pm

JCE i read that also but is wvu red neck city really safe. pittsburgh is rated the top city to live in may be some one should send that story to his mom the burgh is great just like any city there are places you should not go like sherdian or the hill but i am sure there are places you dont go in WVU and at 6 foot 6 300 pounds he should be big enough to go any were he wants.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.23.12 @ 8:34 pm

Why is Dorian Johnson considering decommiting? Did they eliminate the major he was interested in? Did theyu eliminate thethe football program? Must have missed that NCAA sanction. I thought this fine studentathlete made hi

Comment by pittstadiumshuffle 07.23.12 @ 8:48 pm

…made his choice of schools.

Comment by pittstadiumshuffle 07.23.12 @ 8:52 pm

Is there any qb who could come in and start today from psu to pitt?

Comment by pittisit37 07.23.12 @ 8:55 pm

pittisit37 there is a QB whose name is jones who tryed to transfer last year but paterno would not let him go.
any body is better then tino but this jones started 2 years ago for some games but he was 3rd string this year dont know if that helps you out or not.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.23.12 @ 9:04 pm

Good point, Gas. And, um, who hired Baldwin?

Blame it on Calley. It sort of worked once.

Comment by steve1 07.23.12 @ 9:04 pm

I have hated PSU more than most people for the last 10+ years. Although I think the punishment was justified, I do feel a bit for the alumni. I know how upset I would be if this ever happened to PITT, regardless if I thought the punishment was deserved.

Someone above said not to recruit or accept any of the PSU transfers which I agree with. If I were Nordy, I would call Rodney E, express his sympathy for the situation they have been put in, and tell him that we will not be accepting their players under one condition; PSU agrees to play the rivalry game indefinitely.

All you who think we are now above playing this game, I would play a in-state game against a broken PSU 10x before I would play WVU. It is good for PA, good for PITT, and eventually will help PSU get back on their feet, which is good for everyone.

A terrible thing happened in State College. By the time the law suits are settled, including the NCAA fines, it will cost the institution $200M+. After today, I am fully supportive of the healing process beginning now.

Comment by Todd Gack 07.23.12 @ 9:07 pm

I lost all respect I ever had for Jay Bilas. My take: ESPN told him to counterpoint and he inanely did.

Comment by steve1 07.23.12 @ 9:19 pm

Guys, we are talking about the most severe punishment, by far, in the history of college athletics here. Do you honestly think it will be business as usual in Happy Valley and the good times will be back again in due course? The continuity of the entire community has been blown to smithereens. There will be nothing to serve as the cultural center. The heartbeat is gone. What you will see is myriad competing bands of various interest groups all seeking to be king of the hill. There no longer is a centralized authority who can command the masses. Chaos will ensue exacerbated by the drip, drip, drip of more bad news from the endless litigation about to embark upon the university. There is no way they can go on as if nothing happened. The distractions will be beyond overwhelming. The shame and embarrassment of it all will permeate and stigmatize the entire universe of anybody who is what was once Penn State. Many will begin to disassociate themselves out of survival. Others will tire of the constant reminders of the disgraceful chapter in Nittany lore. The ignominy and utter humiliation that will manifest itself simply by wearing a Nittany Lion tee shirt in the mall will prove too much to bear. In reading some of the comments today, I don’t think many are grasping the gravity of what just took place here. The words “Penn State” can no longer be spoken without conjuring images of child rape and rank dishonesty. There is not enough money in Fort Knox to buy one’s way out of this mess. The only way to deal with it is to run away. And that is what many will do over the course of the next few years. That place is finished.

Comment by wally 07.23.12 @ 9:20 pm

Okay whatever this all sucks for Penn State, but the time is NOW for Pitt to become the state power. We are going to the ACC, we can get big recruits back, we can add important transfers to sure up our team. THIS will be a very telling sign whether Chryst has what it takes to capitalize on a favorable situation for Pitt football. Quite frankly, we must succeed because it’s now or never. If we can’t produce a good football product now, then I can’t see it ever happening.

Comment by Timmeh 07.23.12 @ 9:41 pm

If JoePa was interviewed by Barbara Walters, I wonder what kind of tree he would choose. I always considered him to be a Walnut tree. Big tree that left a stinking mess. If you’ve ever had such a tree, you’d know what I mean. JoePa’s actions were truly nuts in retrospect.

Comment by TX Panther 07.23.12 @ 9:45 pm

When compared to the punishment USC received for much less serious infractions, Penn State’s punishment was rather light.

link to

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 07.23.12 @ 9:51 pm

Accepting transfers is not a bargaining chip or moral decision. These are athletes fresh out of high school who’ve probably only visited university park twice. How are they morally culpable? How would Pitt be “taking the high road” by letting them transfer to Maryland or Rutgers instead?

Comment by Kyle 07.23.12 @ 9:58 pm

Chas, as always I very much enjoy the threads. However, why are you (once again) making me ‘think’ at the end of the day, especially on a Monday? I curse you and applaud you at the same time. Thanks, Damnit!

I’m one of those who feel Penn St. got a slap on the wrist. What am I missing? Vacating the wins is no big deal, just bruised egos (maybe that is saying a lot for PSU). The $60 million spread over five years is a drop in the bucket for that alumni and boosters. The loss of scholarships and bowl ban for four years is the only piece with some teeth.

We all know the heinous facts of the situation. Bottom line, this is all about the corruption of money and power with a large ego in the forefront.

I’m not looking for justice from the NCAA, I’m looking for punishment and prevention of a reoccurrence. The NCAA kept talking about changing the culture as they beat their chest today… but I don’t see what they accomplished to that end. In my eyes, they put the “Penn St. Way” in remission for four years. Has anybody heard the Nitters’ remarks today? Or yesterday when Bronze Joe cam down? Do they comprehend what happened? They are complaining about vacating wins on paper; yet they keep the revenues over that time.

Given the severity of the situation, this called for suspension of play for at least two years and these penalties for the subsequent 6 – 8 years. The NCAA needed to blow up the PSU football culture so they can rebuild new.

Again, what am I missing?

Comment by IowaPanther 07.23.12 @ 10:02 pm

Timmeh yes and no first the players have to leave
penn state before you can get them and time will tell if they do and even if they do how many can you get when outher schools want them one two if you are lucky no we will have to do it the old way recruit them year bye year from high school and above all win the games on the field if you do that players will come wining changes every thing.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.23.12 @ 10:07 pm

PSU was presented with a 3 year death penalty or accept these sanctions post-haste. They accepted.
It no longer matters that I/us/Pitt Blather thinks…it is done…criminal/civil penalties to ffollow. We can all be thankful that while we become temperarily insane during Pitt Football season, our angst will be over our performance. I say this many times each year but never more so than now. HAIL TO PITT!

Comment by Dan 72 07.23.12 @ 10:13 pm

Ijust read this and i think i got it right all you have to do is fax penn state a list of players you want to talk to abought going to your school and then you can talk to them and penn state cant stop you it is open season on there players old rules dont apply as far as tampering.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.23.12 @ 10:42 pm

Pedo State can never look down upon Pitt or any other school after this.

I have also taught my children to not let your life revolve around something so trivial like the number of football wins. Watching those State Penn students in shock and crying today after the sanctions were announced show me they still don’t get it and the cult will survive. I thought they were going to riot again.

The University defines Pitt football and not the other way around. Pitt has its priorities straight. Many other schools do as well.

Penn State may be a fine academic institution but it matters not when football is placed first and winning at all costs is taught as a mandatory freshmen course.

Comment by TX Panther 07.23.12 @ 10:47 pm

And penn states in coming freshmen the class they recruited last year can take vists to schools like they never commited last year 5 vists like they never signed a LOI if i were pitt there were 5 players in pennstate class from last year who were from maryland i think and now that we are going into the ACC i would want to talk to them the most becuse we play maryland next year a selling point i think.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.23.12 @ 10:52 pm

Couple of points for FRANKCAN–

Reportedly Dorian Johnson’s mom didn’t want him to attend Pitt, hence PSU, and possibly WVU now–too close to home and the city environment is what has been speculated for that view.

I am inclined to agree with you that there will not be the mass exodus of transfers and lost recruits that many/most are expecting. I think those who believe that will happen and think Pitt will gain 5 or more really good additional players as a result will be very disappointed and disillusioned after the NCAA sanctions are played out.

Comment by pitt1972 07.23.12 @ 11:46 pm

IMHO, the degree of anguish being expressed by the hardcore of the PSU faithful at the NCAA sanctions has less to do with what has happened to PSU football(although that is clearly a significant contributor) as it has to do with being told that their deeply held belief in PSU & Paterno’s supposed “Success with Honor” way of running a major college football program really wasn’t real, really wasn’t different from what most/all other schools did. A myth has been shattered for some while others remain in full denial and continue to believe that the myth was reality and that PSU FB & Paterno are the victims of a vindictive “witch hunt.”

Comment by pitt1972 07.23.12 @ 11:58 pm

QB Paul Jones transferring makes sense from a lot of different angles -hometown kid , reunite with a former teammate , get a fresh start with a new head coach & could beat Tino easily & start from day one instead of enduring a dismal season on the bench watching Mike Mcgloin.

Comment by ROCKY20 07.24.12 @ 12:28 am

Beat Tino out? Maybe, but no guarantees, either!

Comment by pitt1972 07.24.12 @ 12:31 am

Sorry guys. No matter how you spin it, it looks like Tino is our starter this season. Our only hope is that Chryst is a miricle worker with his offensive system and Sunseri goes through a metamorphisis to become the QB once reported about on Rivals 5 years ago when he was coming out of HS. Or of course that Voytik is way better than anybody guessed and can play right out of HS, no chance. It’s Tino Time, one more time.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.24.12 @ 7:25 am

Paul Jones has been a major disappointment so far at PSU .. with grade and discipline issues plus not living up to his 4-star status so far (4th on QB depth chart last year.) It also should be realized that despite the presence of 5 and 4 star QBs, a walk-on has started most of the games last year and NFL scouts aren’t exactly knocking down the door at Beaver Stadium

Comment by wbb 07.24.12 @ 7:49 am

I’m thinking along completely different lines than some that I have seen posting here and elsewhere. I do not expect Pitt and Coach Chryst to throw a lot of invites out there to PSU players or recruits.

Chryst and staff have shown themselves to very deliberate recruiters so far and at Wisconsin. He appears to be much more interested in finding his type of player rather than being concerned about the number of stars or what others think. Time will tell whether that works or not. I’m not really expecting Pitt to get more (or try for moremuch more)than 3 players maximum. Maybe not that many.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 07.24.12 @ 8:06 am

wouldn’t mind getting some linemen though — either side of the line of scrimmage

Comment by wbb 07.24.12 @ 8:10 am

All true PITT fans should thank the administration for their tempered approach to athletics at PITT. While they clearly acknowledged the need to remain competitive and successful, they have never done it at the risk of academics. If you have ever listened to Nordenberg speak to the alumni you will quickly realized that he will speak for 30 mins on the accomplishments of PITT (Rhode scholars, total grant money, department rankings, average) and never once mention sports. The quarterly mailing that the University sends to the alumni always highlights accomplishment of the university beyond sports. Today we should all be proud that while sports is important at PITT it doesn’t define our university. Those at the top understand the true mission of the University. If that were not the case then today we would be headed to the B12

Comment by Pitt Fan In Atlanta 07.24.12 @ 8:16 am

Frank-I was wrong about players being able to transfer after the season, which changes my view of what will happen to the current players. I agree that most are likely to stay of only because they don’t have enough time to investigate their options. They may lose a few, but I doubt Pitt picks up much from that group.

I still find it hard to believe they will hold on to recruits (let alone get new ones), but stranger things have happened.

Comment by Pantherman13 07.24.12 @ 8:33 am

As a Pitt fan, I take no pleasure in any of this. Joe Paterno, dispite his faults, ran one of the cleaner programs in the NCAA. He and the Penn state administration, made a terrible decision, not to call the authorities, and put the percieved interests of the university, over the consideration and safety of the kids. This whole tragedy is unfortunate and the fall-out will last for many years. I genuninely feel sorry for the current players and students, who had nothing to do with what transpired. The people in the Penn State community will ultimately be the ones who pay the price.

Comment by Justinian 07.24.12 @ 8:56 am

Dr. Tom, I think Tino will have more success under Paul Chryst. He won’t expect him to do things beyond his abilities. Chryst is no dummy and I believe he will recognize what his players can and cannot do. For Tino it’s a good thing. As the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin he showed the flexibility to taylor his offensive plans around the strengths of his players.

Comment by Justinian 07.24.12 @ 9:05 am

We are all still looking for Tino’s strengths

Comment by Rayhpgh 07.24.12 @ 9:21 am

One does have to wonder, how long it’s going to take the NCAA to start sniffing around Morgantown, I mean, with all the “my Mother is my niece, is my cousin, is my daughter” stuff that’s been going on down there for years.

Comment by Dan 07.24.12 @ 9:36 am

@Justinian–I understand your feelings about this–However, I think you are off target with your sympathy. Your belief that Paterno ran “one of the cleanest” programs, I believe, is among the perceptions you are off about. Yes, he apparently (as far as we now know) didn’t run a program that paid players $$s under the table or blatantly cheated like the SMUs, USCs and Miamis. However, he seemingly always and regularly circumvented University and local law enforcement rules and procedures to keep his players available and eligible to play and had the “pull” to do so with University and local public officials. In addition, especially in pre-internet days, he was able to keep such unfairly advantageous treatment of athletes vs regular students hidden from public view. The bottom line here is that–at very best–he ran a program no cleaner than the average college football program. And, by always claiming that he ran a squeaky-clean program and contrasting that claim against the relatively few really bad actors among college football programs, he created the myth of the Penn State way of “Success with Honor” that was widely accepted and believed by many; when, in reality, the program’s “honor” was just as pedestrian as that of most programs and, in reality, it was not “cleaner than most” but more or less the same.

As far as the students are concerned, I don’t feel more than slightly sorry for them. They are at PSU, presumably, primarily to get an education, and not mainly to enjoy a winning football team. Their motivations for attending PSU should have been academic and not mainly to be football fans. Those who are also FB players are protected because they are free to transfer without loss of eligibility.

The term “fan” comes from fanatic. Fans are those who have a fanatical devotion to a favorite sports team. They choose to follow that team for recreation and for enjoyment. Their enjoyment typically is greater if the team they have chosen as the object of their devotion is winning.

If you are feeling sorry for them because they will possibly suffer through losing seasons–please don’t. Fans have no inherent right or entitlement to a winning team. PSU fans still will have a team even if it will not be as successful in the next few years and will not, as a result, give them as much pleasure. They weren’t and aren’t “entitled” to even that much in the grand scheme of things. No fan of any sports team is “entitled” to anything. Life and what really matters in life (and its not sports) will go on as before for PSU fans.

FWIW–When I attended Pitt in the late 1960’s there were 3 consecutive 1-10 losing seasons and, as I recall, the best FB season was 3-7. There were no bowl games. Getting some perspective of what it feels like to not have on the field success is a good thing–not a punishment. We enjoy the good things in life more when they are contrasted with the bad (or not so good). When we feel entitled to always have things really good and never have experienced the opposite we become spoiled and selfish! Pitt’s 1976 National Championship was all the sweeter for me as it was juxtaposed against those 3 1-10 seasons I experienced the previous decade.

So, IMHO, this should be a good thing for the PSU students and fans also. It will, hopefully, as the NCAA intends, give them some perspective and teach the important life lesson that life isn’t fair and that we are not entitled to athletic success—particularly when it is preserved by the cover up of repugnant crimes.

Comment by pitt1972 07.24.12 @ 10:35 am

I think the NCAA knows that they are incapable of changing the hearts and minds of the delusional fan who demands “winning at all costs” and that was not the intention of the penalties regarding the goal of “changing the culture”. I believe the intent was to shift the power fronm the almighty football coach to the administration (AD, Pres, BoT, etc). If I were an AD or college administrator and I knew of a severe violation of NCAA rules, or especially of any criminal acts I would definitely think ten times before backing down and submitting to the will of the football coach (even ones as strong as Meyer, Saban and Miles) because the roadmap is now clear as to what the downside is of this course of action. I think the NCAA may have got this one right. However for my taste, I’m a big believer in due process and I’m not sure that the way they got here was correct.
How totally stupid will the NCAA look if in testimony under the penalties of perjury it is determined that the decision to conceal Sandusky’s heinous crimes against children came from a source other than the football program. I think there is less than a 1% chance this will happen, but nevertheless the NCAA will look even more useless and ineffective if it did.

Comment by Taxing Matters 07.24.12 @ 12:44 pm

Taxing matters–I tend to agree this precipitous NCAA decision runs some risk of being proved to be driven by inaccuracies. I thinks that small risk is probably diminished, however, by the fact that the PSU BOT consented to it rather than insisting on a longer more drawn out and thorough process.

Also, even if Paterno himself were found not to be the source for the cover up; but, rather Spanier and others on the academic side of the house; it could still be validly argued that the cover up was done as mainly to protect football. After all PSU football was the face of the university, its “cash cow” and PSU’s primary source of public prestige both athletically and academically. Yes, I believe even academically, at least as far as all but in the eyes of a few ivory-tower academicians.

Comment by pitt1972 07.24.12 @ 2:01 pm

How quickly you forget:

Pitt = Culture

Penn State = Agri Culture

Will never change!

Comment by SFPitt 07.24.12 @ 5:05 pm

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