Fourth and Long

Published 9:23 am Friday, July 13, 2012

Some stories transcend sports. The travesty that surrounds Penn State University is one such story.

In case you have been living under a rock, let me give you what my parents used to refer to as the “Readers Digest version.”

According to a thorough investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, it appears that former Penn State assistant football coach had taken indecent liberties with children… for a long time. Authorities at Penn State, including legendary head coach Joe Paterno were apparently made aware that these activities may have been occurring and instead of protecting the children, they instead chose to protect the program.

While there are many more disturbing details, that is the story that most will hear over the next few days. While the news is more shocking than many expected it does bring forth a new question. How will they be held accountable?

The law has become involved and as their investigation nears its end they may decide to hold several individual members of the former Penn State staff accountable, as well they should. I, however, am referring to the sports part of this story and find myself curious as to how the NCAA will respond to the latest report detailing a cover up and lack of human morality.

I’ll tell you what they should consider, the death penalty. A lot of fuss has been made over the last few years regarding the NCAA and its crackdown on sports agents and improper benefits. They have been relentless in their pursuit of programs and individuals they deem have been given special treatment.

If such deeds warrant punishments like probation, forfeiture of victories and loss of scholarships then certainly the athletic department’s and university administration’s concealment of alleged rape and molestation of young children by a member of their football staff calls for the dissolvement of the program.

Board of Trustees members and the new University President will stand in front of the podium and tell you how ashamed they are and how they promise this will never happen again. The only way to ensure that is to sell the program for parts. The university will tell us all the right things, but as far as I am concerned they are a many days late and millions of dollars short. They have proven they cannot be trusted to self-police their program and if the punishment comes anywhere close to fitting the crime then the days of Nittany Lions football should soon be reaching an end.


David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at