NCAA rights its wrong with Penn State

The NCAA fell further on its sword Friday with the announcement that it was restoring to Penn State the 112 victories it took away in July 2012 as part of a package of over-the-top sanctions for the school’s incompetence in managing Jerry Sandusky.

Maybe it will bleed to death.

Of all the sanctions – along with a $60 million fine, massive scholarship reductions, allowing players to transfer immediately and a four-year bowl ban – this may have been the most ridiculous since the games already had been played, and won, by people who had nothing to do with Sandusky.

The NCAA has since rescinded the scholarship reductions, the bowl ban and now the victory total as it continues to trip over itself.

Vacating 112 wins was, pure and simple, the NCAA’s way of saying it didn’t want Joe Paterno to have the all-time victories record of 409. Now he does – again.

Paterno didn’t do enough to stop Sandusky, and he admitted as much. He also handed off the case to others in the administrative chain who didn’t put enough safeguards in place to protect the innocent and vulnerable on which Sandusky preyed.

The NCAA didn’t need to strip victories that players had as much or more to do with than the coaches, and Paterno’s penalty for his mishandling of Sandusky was already paid.

It contributed to a premature, tragic ending to a Hall of Fame career and, his heart ripped out, it arguably hastened his death.

That’s a steep enough price – especially when the perpetrator was sitting in solitary confinement for the next 30 years, eligible for release only if he lives to be 99.

Further, the NCAA’s reckless fashion in stripping away victories, dating back to 1998 when legal authorities probed a complaint about Sandusky but did not press charges, was equally perplexing.

Credit state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and state Treasurer Rob McCord for initiating a suit against the NCAA that has helped expose the organization.

Penn State originally and quickly accepted the harsh sanctions because it felt it had no choice and because it feared the death penalty, which was being threatened.

Court documents, however, have revealed that NCAA President Mark Emmert, who should be impeached, was bluffing harsher penalties to former PSU President Rod Erickson, including the death penalty.

And USA Today reported Thursday that the NCAA executive committee said the death penalty never had much support.

The longer the suit, or other suits, lasted, the worse the NCAA was going to look so it recognized Penn State’s response to the sanctions and decided to give up that part of the fight.

And in restoring wins it never should have taken in the first place, it’s at least righted that wrong.

Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or nrudel@altoonamirror.com.