NCAA coaches on campus at PSU
"If you find yourself in a situation where the athletic culture is taking precedence over the academic culture then a variety of bad things can occur."
That is a statement made by NCAA President Mark Emmert, explaining the harshness of the sanctions that were dished out to Penn State on Monday morning.
"Simply put, success in LSU football is essential for the success of Lousiana State University."
This quote might be confusing to people as it seems it has nothing to do with the sanctions that were passed down at Penn State University. Or does it?
That statement was said by Emmert while he was the President at LSU after the firing of head football coach Gerry Dinardo in 1999 and the hiring of Nick Saban. The reasoning for the coaching change, Emmert explained most recently on ESPN's Outside the Lines was that LSU had a low graduation rate and the players were having some off the field issues. He also mentioned that success wasn't just about winning and being competitive, but that it was also about graduating players and doing things the right way. LSU was 3-8 in Gerry Dinardo's last season at LSU before he was fired.
One of the great things about the country we live in is that people from all magnitudes of life get to have an opinion. There are those that think Penn State football should never be able to field a football team ever again. There are those that believe the sanctions are way to harsh, and then there are those that believe they are just right. Whatever the opinion, let's all agree that the victims of Jerry Sandusky are far and away the most important aspect of this whole situation.
Secondly, just because maybe a fan, an alumni, or even a member of the media doesn't agree that Penn State football should be shut down does not mean they don't sympathize with the victims.
Taking a look at the sanctions, it will be forever be debated whether they were fair or not, but the bigger question I believe is if they make sense? Does Emmert's reasoning of trying to change the culture at Penn State even possible? Is it even possible to try and change the culture of college football as a whole?
These are the questions that need to be asked when trying to figure out the reasoning behind the sanctions at Penn State. We know why Penn State was penalized, which was that four high level officials covered up child sex abuse. Something had to be done and that is not the issue at hand.
Set aside the money, the bowl ban, and the scholarship reduction.
The real interesting scenario the NCAA has created is with the transfer rules that have come along with the sanctions.
Any PSU player with up to four years of eligibility can transfer to another school of their choice before the start of the 2012 college football season. They can transfer right away and play right away. Any team that is already at the scholarship limit for the season will be granted extra scholarships if a PSU players wants to attend their university. Any coach can openly recruit as if the PSU players were in high school once again and there is no limit to the amount of texts or calls a coach can make to a PSU player.
Yesterday at State College the sharks smelled blood in the water and the poaching process began. It was also reported yesterday by ESPN that there was up to six Illinois coaches on Penn State's campus looking to meet with players.
Penn State defensive back Stephon Morris said this yesterday on twitter explaining his concerns with coaches from other schools being on Penn State's campus.
"We have chosen to stay at PSU & other opposing coaches are outside our apartment. Was that the intentions of the NCAA #LeaveUsAlone #WeAre."
Bill O'Brien also voiced the discomfort of his players while he was at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut on Wednesday.
"Our players are in our building right now and they don't want to leave the building because there are coaches from other schools in the parking lot waiting to see them."
If this doesn't prove that the culture of college football is mostly based on winning then I don't know what does. The reality of the situation is that the NCAA cannot change the culture of college football. It will always be about winning as long as there is so much money involved.
Is it possible that Emmert has seen the light from his LSU days and now believes that winning is less important, sure, but as seen from his statement above he once gave into the culture that now and will forever exist in college football.
The sanctions on PSU aren't the dilemma here, it's the message the NCAA is trying to send. A better message would have been to devise some type of plan to use the big money engine that is college football and Penn State University to help the victims of Sandusky and the victims in general of child abuse over an extended period of time if, not forever.
Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti and Michael Zordich spoke yesterday at State College with about 30 of their teammates saying they are there to stay, while calling out Penn State fans, alumni, and supporters to stick with them as they endure these troubling times.
As of right now, there hasn't been any players transfer from Penn State to any other schools. The player still garnering the most attention is running back Silas Redd, who seems to still be unsure about his future at Penn State.
ESPN is reporting that Redd, who is not at BIG 10 Media Day is strongly condsidering a transfer to the Trojans and is sitting down with a USC coach today.
A decision as soon as Monday could be made on Redd's future.
Redd rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns for Penn State in 2011.