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

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

July 24th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

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...

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/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.

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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/Times Free Press.

NCAA fall out

We wrote in today's TFP http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/24/greeson-ncaa-delivers-message-loudly-clearly/ 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.

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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/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.

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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.

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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?