published Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

5-at-10: Penn State fallout, baseball deals

Gang, Monday was a long, emotional day. Hey, remember Friday's mailbag — we are heading to NYC this weekend and we need to knock that out ahead of time.

From the "Talks too much" Studios, here we go...

  • photo
    Joe Paterno speaking during the Big Ten media days in Chicago in 2010. Penn State football was all but leveled Monday by an NCAA ruling that wiped away 14 years of coach Joe Paterno's victories and imposed a mountain of fines and penalties, crippling a program whose pedophile assistant coach spent uncounted years molesting children, sometimes on university property. The Big Ten announced that Penn State would not be allowed to share in the conference's bowl revenue during the NCAA's postseason ban, an estimated loss of about $13 million.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Penn State aftermath

The decision on Penn State has been debated, rebated and re-debated. It's the rarest of scenarios: Everyone agrees the acts are heinous, but no matter how you view the penalties, the opposing opinion has merit. Were they too harsh? Yes. Were they too lenient? Yes.

There's no way the punishment could have fit the crimes and there's no way not to feel sorry for everyone at Penn State who are bearing the responsibility despite not being responsible.

Everyone that is except Sandusky and his enablers.

This morning, roughly 24 hours after the announced NCAA penalties left Penn State facing a nuclear winter as pale and bleak as their helmets, let's take stock of the decision:

The ripple affects of the crippling penalties to the football program will be felt for years and may last a decade. The loss of scholarships, bowl eligibility and prestige will make Penn State an also-ran for the foreseeable future.

Penn State was forced to vacate 112 wins, 111 of those belonged to Paterno. That means as of Monday morning Bobby Bowden is the winningest major college football coach of all time. If the $60 million to charities supporting child abuse victims is the most just part of the penalty, vacating the wins and toppling Paterno's place in the record books may be the most poetic part of the penalty.

Did it not feel like the Big Ten was simply piling on by voting Penn State's would not receive a share of the conference's bowl money? Jim Delany could mess up a Vegas bachelor party.

And as poorly as Delany handles things, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien is at the other end of the spectrum in this diabolic dichotomy. After saying all the right things Monday, O'Brienhas a world of work in front of him to make Penn State relevant again. He has to re-recruit his current team; he must recruit with limited numbers and possibilities; he must survive the storm.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the healing process for everyone involved at Penn State.


  • photo
    In this Aug. 6, 1999, file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator. Jerry Sandusky, during the college football team's media day in State College, Pa. Former FBI director Louis Freeh, who led a Penn State-funded investigation into the university's handling of molestation allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, is scheduled to release his highly anticipated report Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NCAA fall out

We wrote in today's TFP that this was the NCAA sending a message.

We believe that.

We also believe that while this decision came with much debate and conflict and turmoil for Mark Emmert and Co., it also opened the NCAA for a river of second-guessing and accusations.

How can Emmert and company cry foul about an athletic culture that was "too big to fail," when the NCAA fits under the same charge?

It's easy to be outraged at child molestation and those that turn a blind eye to it. It's easier still to swing at Penn State in the wake of the Freeh report that detailed our worst fears about Paterno and his program's power structure. It is a popular move to topple the statue and the statuesque at Penn State because we all believed Happy Valley to be the shining example and we all feel conned.

But is this the new NCAA — a group committed to cleaning up the image and the soul of college sports? Or is this a merely a move for the masses?

As our friend Gary Shelton wrote: "If this is a precedent, the NCAA is going to need a lot more investigators. And if it isn't a precedent, it looks a lot like grandstanding."

Well said.

If this is remembered as the first day of an NCAA committed to defending the innocent, then that's a good thing. If this is remembered as the day after the NCAA nuked Penn State because we all hate child abuse, well, the NCAA could be the next one facing a long fall into irrelevance.


  • photo
    Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki follows through on a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning in a baseball game Monday, June 14, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Ichiro trade

And with one quick announcement, we all remembered why the Yankees are the Yankees and are always in the hunt for a title.

New York dealt two pitching prospects for future Hall of Fame outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. The Yankees announced he'll play left field and hit eighth. And the fact that Ichiro is hitting eighth makes even those unfamiliar with the Yankees realize how tough the New York lineup is.

It also jumpstarted arguably one of the best things about the baseball season: the trading deadline. Baseball more than any sport as point where teams admit they are going to make a run or build for the future. It's like a medieval dating ritual in that GMs are announcing their intentions, and whether they work or not will be known in two months.

We have always supported making moves to win now. There are way too-many "can't miss" prospects that miss to become too attached to a kid killing it in Double-A. And yes, we remember the Mark Teixiera trade when the Braves sent four stellar prospects to Texas in a move that allowed the Rangers to form the nucleus of one of the three best teams in baseball.

Sure, the top two or three names in your minor league system must be protected and fostered.

Still, we'd take every call and look to move just about every piece possible in an effort to make a run at the playoffs. And yes, the Braves' hard charge at Ryan Dempster would fit nicely into this debate.

That said, the Braves are not the Turner-owned Braves of 20 years ago when if they made at the deadline you felt pretty comfortable about the newly acquired player sticking around for a couple of years. Renting a player for two months can be risky, and that must be weighed in the asking price.


This and that

— Dez Bryant's mom does not want to proceed with her complaint to police that resulted in an assault charge against Dez. In a time where sports and crime stories are so common and obscene that we almost feel numb to most of them, this one still makes us shake our heads. Really Dez? You slapped your mom with your hat? Really?

— Wes Welker has landed a new endorsement deal. He's going to be the spokesman for a hair transplant doctor in the New England area. And best of all, Welker used this guy's services, so he can use the classic "I'm not only a receiver/used, I'm also a client." Here's saying Tom Brady and the boys have more than few jokes about this when camp opens this week.

— Chad Johnson has become Chad Johnson again, officially changing his name back after a four-year run as Chad Ochocinco.

— Training camp starts this week around the NFL and almost all of the questions surround quarterbacks. Here's saying that within three weeks, we've had our fill of Peyton's neck, Tebow's role as a second-teamer and RGIII's big-play ability.

— Lost in the wake of the emotional swings of Ernie Els' win and Adam Scott's collapse last weekend at the British Open was the fact that Tiger Woods moved up in the world golf rankings. Woods finished third at the British Open and now is the No. 2-ranked golfer on the planet.


Today's question

The story of the day is Penn State. It's been the story of the last nine months.

That said, we want to believe the NCAA's ruling will be the beginning of the final chapter of this matter for Penn State. Granted there are a slew of civil suits on the horizon, and hopefully the Sandusky's victims can start the healing process as soon as possible.

It's simply the greatest scandal in sports. How do you think Monday's actions by the NCAA will be viewed 10 years from now?

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
ordinaryguy said...

What happened at Penn State was a a tragedy of monumental proportions...however, what the NCAA did yesterday was make it possible for them to take action when players get into legal trouble for off the field incidents...can you say those beloved Dawgs, Vols, etc...? you can say the NCAA did the right thing, but when some clorox orange clad cornerback is arrested for say robbery or a Dawg or Tide player get in trouble for drugs and the NCAA puts the hammer down, remember it all was made possible by yesterday's ruling...

July 24, 2012 at 10:29 a.m.
chas9 said...

Aaron Berry or Eric Berry? Frankenberry?

Can Hubert Davis coach?

The flip side of the Teixiera coin is the Crime Dog trade. Sorry, that sounds tinny next to the Happy Valley crimes, but it is an all-time nickname, not heard often enuf.

July 24, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Tiger to #2 in the World? He's #1 he PGA Tour race for the Arnold Palmer Trophy.

For Penn State, the trauma has only in earnest. At some point those in the know that ignored will go to trial. As you say, Penn State will be rocked by individual or class action law suits that will take years to sort out. The campus culture will change, and indeed, has changed. No more Jo Pa; No more football as the students knew it.

One has to wonder how Penn State will be treated by opposing fans this year and down the road.

July 24, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

That's a fair point and something that will have to be addressed.

What is the NCAA role in legal matters? This was a heinous and unethical and criminal act that everyone was against. Where do they draw the line? Are they going to be at the next DUI in the Pac-12 or the next drug arrest in the SEC?

We do know this, the death penalty is no longer an option. Because if this doesn't warrant it, what will?

9er —

We'll take Eric Berry, followed by Chuck, Straw and Berry, Berry quite contrary, how does your garden grow. (Side note: Andrew "Dice" Clay was the comedy match to Mark "the Bird" Fydrich — on top of the world for a 15 minutes and then no where).

Talking about folks deserve to be in the Hall — what about Fred McGriff? Dude never gets any love, save his appearances on the Tom Emanski fundamental videos.

FE to the C —

Tiger's well on his way to winning the Arnold Palmer trophy on and off the course.

Great point about how opposing fans treat Penn State. Here's saying the current players and coaches get a very "We are Marshall" type of treament.

— 5-at-10

July 24, 2012 at 11:44 a.m.
chas9 said...

Good call on Chuck Berry. Don't forget Blueberry Hill, where I found my thrill.

Spy is SO correct that knowing when to keep your pie-hole shut is a very positive attribute in a person.

In a related development, did you see the Greg Doyel column last week claiming Lane Kiffin is not the jerk you think he is?

And take a bite out of crime.

July 24, 2012 at 11:49 a.m.
memphisexile said...

I think we have seen the new NCAA that is going to be more proactive and really hammer teams that commit major violations or allow football to become bigger than the school. This MAY be a good thing. Hopefully, it coincides with a reworking of the archaic Byzantine NCAA rule book, so less time is wasted on ticky-tacky minor violations like too much texting. Maybe an early signing day would also help. While I am on the subject of things I would like to see change, a dead period for hiring coaches in football from the last regular season game until the NC should be in place. Nothing sadder than a bowl team without a coach.

July 24, 2012 at 1:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We're down with Blueberry Hill. And how could we forget Halle Berry? Sweet buckets of sweet buckets.

Did see the Doyel column on Kiffin not being as bad as we think he is. There's some merit to that — we do believe that a bunch of his antics early in Knoxville were a combo of immaturity and trying to make a big splash by swinging at Urban and Nick and UGA et al.

We also think it's pretty convenient to wrap all of that under the PeeWee Herman "I meant to that."

We think the following story wraps up Kiffin pretty well. He was at an area high school waiting on a potential recruit during his 13-month stint in Knoxville. Kiffin starts chatting with some 10th grader and before you know it, they are drawing up plays and laying them out on the floor of the coaches office. It was engaging and honest and helped us understand why he's such a good recruiter.

But he was there, on this business trip, with his golf shirt untucked and his hair messy. You take the good and the bad, and often we focus too much on one-side or the other.

Exile —

We could not agree more. We have to hold out hope that this is the dawn of a new NCAA that tries to enforce the rules matter rather than making meaningless matters seem important.

And sweet Guns of Navarone, you went homer, homer, homer there.

Let's review:

— Hope this is the start of an NCAA with muscle (check)

— Early signing period for football (check — and we think this will solve at least a third if not more of the filth muck on the recruiting trail)

— Dead period for hiring coaches between regular-season and bowl game (check, provided the coach is actually in a bowl, although there aren't many that miss a bowl and then move on to another gig; side note — this would apply only to head coaches; if coordinators get a chance at wearing the top dog headset they have to go).

Exile, take a discount double check celebration dance.

— 5-at-10

July 24, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

ESPN, others, are reporting running back Silas Redd (1250 yards in '11) is considering a transfer to USC. As has been mentioned he would be immediately eligible as he should be. As if USC needed more help on offense.

How exactly will the loss of 20 scholarships a year work?

July 24, 2012 at 2:59 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The Spy is still waiting on his Guns of Navarone set to show up for Christmas. The same one Spy has been waiting on for, oh, 37 years or so.

At least we didn't go Drew Berrymore (poor girl just can't act. But I digress) or Sean Berry or Walter Berry or Darryl Strawberry.

The Penn State penalties are severe, almost Draconian in stature. But the crime of protecting the football program at the cost of the childhoods and innocences of who know how many young boys bears a signifcant and harsh penalty. It will take more than a decade for Penn State football to be seen as a power again. It may take a generation. The fans and current players had nothing to do with the despicable actions of one man and the heinous conspiracy to protect him and the program he represented.

But perhaps the NCAA's statement is that no one program, no one sport, should be larger than justice and truth and the protection of children. And for that, Penn State will pay a very steep price. As it should.

July 24, 2012 at 3 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Laughter —

The loss of 20 scholarships each season means for the next four years, Penn State can have no more than 65 scholarships during a school year as opposed to the 85 most major college programs can have.

They also can't sign more than 15 players in any signing class; most schools sign 25 during a recruiting cycle.

Spy —

Well said.

P.S. — Walter Berry? Really? Wow, great, Great, GREAT call. We loved those St. John's teams and the wars they had with Ewing and G-Town, Pearl Washington and the 'Cuse, Rollie and 'Nova, Jerome Lane and Pitt and the rest of the powerful Big East (with Raftery calling the games). Good times, and we were watching live when Jerome dropped the hammer and Raftery yells, "SEND IN IT JEROME."

— 5-at-10

July 24, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

I believe Penn State will be more competitive with 65 than some, the bottom won't just fall out completely. They will be better than Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota and the like in their league. I had it wrong and was thinking it would be losing 20 each year as in 85 in '12, 65 in 13, 45 in 14, etc. You have some FCS teams with 65 capable of competing with most FBS teams, Penn State should be able to also even with the bowl ban causing some recruits and possibly some current players to go elsewhere. I don't think it will take a decade to get back on track, either.

July 24, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

"They also can't sign more than 15 players in any signing class; most schools sign 25 during a recruiting cycle."

Unless, of course, your name is Bama comma Ala.

The 5 to the Big Apple? You finally going on Letterman?

July 24, 2012 at 3:42 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Penn State's worries could grow exponentially if they drop off too far. I dont think they will become SMU by any means, but imagine if they begin to fall and the major conference reallignment talks start. What super conference is going to pick up a wounded duck with a half filled 100k capacity blackout stadium. With the way things are shaking up in conferences and playoff situations, this was not the best of timing for not-so-Happy-Valley.

And Rita's is now carrying Sour Patch Kid Italian Ice. Now you know.

July 24, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Laughter —

A lot of the depth of the fall depends on how many of the current juniors/sophomores stay.

That and how they combat the stigma of being the place that allowed a child rapist to roam. And if you think that won't be on the minds of college recruits' parents, well, we think it will.

Spy —

Wanted to, but he's off this weekend.

Will be at the Stadium for Yanks-Sox on Saturday afternoon. We'll be the redneck in the Auburn visor, so we'll likely blend right in.

Mr. 962 —

We had that thought, too. If the superconference stuff happens sooner rather than later, Penn State is not a dunk to be invited. Even with their 100,000-seat park.

— 5-at-10

July 24, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
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