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Despite Penn State's punishment, the victims continue to suffer

The NCAA hammered Penn State football Monday. But let's be clear about something. The victims in this case have not changed.
by Berry Tramel Published: July 23, 2012

DALLAS – The NCAA hammered Penn State football Monday.

Four-year bowl ban; $60 million fine; scholarship reductions from 85 to 65 in a couple of years; removal of 109 Joe Paterno victories since 1998.

Harsh. Harsh and punitive.

But let's be clear about something. The victims in this case have not changed.

It's not Paterno's legacy nor his delusional family nor Penn State's athletic department nor its alumni nor the citizens of what once was known as Happy Valley.

And that truth comes from Paterno's peers. That comes from the Big 12 football coaches.

“It's a terrible situation,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday during Big 12 Football Media Days. “The victim is not Penn State. The victim is all the people who were abused.”

The NCAA delivered frontier justice on Penn State about one hour before the Big 12 coaches arrived at the Westin Galleria. Which meant they could not avoid the obvious line of questioning.

“Not really up to me to judge,” said Bob Stoops. “Just incredibly tragic. That's the only way I can describe the whole thing. I don't know all the facts. I'm not one to judge.

“But in every way, in every way possible, children should always be protected by adults. And that's all I would say about it.”

What else needs to be said?

From the Paterno family's continued ridiculous statements to Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's absurd defense of Paterno last week to the still-clueless antics of Penn State students, we can lose sight of what happened.

Young boys were horrifically damaged in the name of perception and reputation and power.

I don't agree with NCAA president Mark Emmert using his authority like this. I don't believe this was an NCAA issue.

But I'll give Emmert this. His NCAA podium Monday was in reality a mountaintop. He stood up in Indianapolis and shouted to Penn State University that it didn't protect the children. And everything else is just background noise.

“I think perhaps the lesson that will be taken away from it,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who until this month was an athletic director, “is that things can get pretty far afield when there are people running the show that don't ever get frank feedback and don't ever have anybody push back against them in terms of recentering their decision processes.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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