Despite scandal, legendary Penn State coach Paterno’s wins are restored

I am one who has always firmly believed that credit should be given where it is due in sports, particularly with records. Barry Bonds did hit more home runs than anyone and the record is his despite steroid usage; Lance Armstrong did win all of the Tour de France’s and those titles should still belong to him. Joe Paterno did win 409 games as the head coach of Penn State University, and they have finally been returned to the late great coach.

Last Friday, the NCAA reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought forward by Pennsylvania politicians in an attempt to invalidate the decree Penn State agreed to, ultimately restoring all of the vacated wins.

Paterno was stripped of 112 wins as head coach, all wins dating back to 1998 for his role in the Jerry Sandusky case. Sandusky had been allegedly spotted “fondling” a ten-year-old in the shower by a graduate assistant. The spotting was reported to Paterno, who then told the athletic director and the vice president of business and finance, the head of the campus police.

Despite following proper procedure, Paterno was greatly criticized in the media for not further following up with the allegations. The NCAA wanted to quickly end the media onslaught they were facing and rushed a report to be announced, which greatly criticized the Penn State legend.

The reports led to the firing of Paterno, along with the majority of the coaching staff and various school officials. In addition, the NCAA placed major sanctions on the university, including bowl game bans and elimination of scholarships.

However, during the investigation of the NCAA’s conduct of crisis management, it was discovered that the NCAA acted wrongly.

On the day of the announcement of the decree agreement, the interim president of the university said that not accepting the deal would have resulted in the NCAA banning the school from playing a single game the next season, immediately raising suspicions.

As discovered in the recent lawsuit, the NCAA took advantage of the poor situation and rushed the punishments. The NCAA Board of Directors had never actually discussed a season ban, and the president had made threats to Penn State to force the decree agreement.

What does this lawsuit settlement mean to the NCAA? In essence, this is a loss, and a major one at that.

There were lies being told. The NCAA could have told lies to Penn State to rush the punishment. They could have lied to each other on the process and information. Regardless, there was a massive breakdown somewhere and too many people were hurt in the case.

As for Joe Paterno, his legacy should not be tainted for the failure of the NCAA. After the incident, many people lost faith in him, claiming he accepted coaches that sexually abused students and youth. However, he actually followed the procedures that he was supposed to take and did his job.

He was a coach, a mentor, a role model and a father to the men that he coached. Joe Paterno was a legend for the entire 61 years he was a coach at Penn State, and is without a doubt the winningest coach in the history of college football.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 and is filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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