bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: NCAA tries to make amends with Penn State

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Earlier this week, the ridiculously pathetic NCAA made a positive move by deciding to reduce the sanctions against the Penn State football program. This is another story that straddles the line between Good Sports and Bad Sports, in my opinion. The good part is that it at least partially makes up for the wildly inappropriate and totally unfair penalties levied upon the program last year by NCAA president Mark Emmert and his gang of cronies. The bad part is that the reasoning that was given for the reduction is a bunch of lies that were intended to make the NCAA look good and effective in some way.

In the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the NCAA went far beyond its purview in order to punish Penn State. This was a criminal matter, pure and simple, and had nothing to do with anything over which the NCAA has jurisdiction. Mark Emmert wanted to make a splash and look tough, and by doing so he set in motion a chain of events over the past year that look likely to cause a massive change in the governance of college sports. The NCAA itself may even cease to exist before this is all over. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. They didn’t even do their own investigation, but instead relied on the Freeh Report, which was commissioned by Penn State’s equally despicable Board of Trustees. This report has been shredded by a number of experts who demonstrated how completely lacking in facts it was, and how there was no backing at all for virtually all of the claims it made.

One of the things that came with the sanctions was the appointment of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell to the position of Athletics Integrity Monitor at Penn State. Anyone who knows anything about athletics at Penn State knows that it would be hard to think of many schools that would need someone like that less, as the school has always performed far above the normal standards when it comes to graduating players and producing quality citizens. Mitchell has issued quarterly reports, each one more glowing than the last. After the latest one, he apparently recommended to the NCAA that they reduce the sanctions, which they then did, giving back some of the annual scholarships that were taken away and easing the restriction on the overall number of scholarships. The bowl game ban remains in place, although it sounds like that could change with continued good reports. The $60 million fine was unchanged, and the vacated wins from the years of 1998-2011 are still floating out in the ether somewhere.

Mitchell’s report was a convenient excuse for the NCAA, which clearly made these moves as a public relations move, as there are few organizations with a worse reputation right now. Mark Emmert has been getting hit from all sides in recent months, and deservedly so. I was shocked to see that the national media actually managed to see through this farce, calling out Emmert for being so transparent and for nearly breaking his arm trying to pat himself on the back for “fixing” Penn State. There was no admission made that the original sanctions had been wrong and unfair. Instead, he lauded Penn State for learning from its supposed mistakes and working to fix what was broken.

The rest of the sanctions need to go away and the wins need to be returned. That said, the changes that were made this week will help Penn State significantly over the next couple of years, and I am pleased with that development.

Good sports, continued:

2) A man from Kenya, Wilson Kipsang, won the Berlin Marathon on Sunday with a time of 2:03:23. This broke the world record by fifteen seconds. Berlin is known as a fast course, but this is still an amazing feat. To put this in perspective, I am training for my second marathon right now, and I had a 21 mile training run on Sunday. At 2:03:23, I was working on my 15th mile. Finishing 26.2 in that amount of time is just ludicrous.

3) Florida Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter in his team’s final game of the season on Sunday, beating the Detroit Tigers by a score of 1-0. The Marlins have a terrible owner that has essentially stolen money from the fans of his team, but his organization sure does a good job of scouting an developing young players. They get rid of them as soon as they are due to make any money, of course, but they should be commended for knowing how to get them there.

4) Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson won at Dover on Sunday, giving him his eighth career win at the concrete track, which is more than any driver ever.

5) An American team owned by Oracle’s Larry Ellison won yachting’s America’s Cup this week after having nearly no shot just a week ago.

6) USC finally fired coach Lane Kiffin after yet another bad loss on Saturday. I am fascinated to see if someone else hires this scumbag.

Bad sports:

1) Manny Machado, the young superstar from the Baltimore Orioles, tore a ligament in his knee while rounding first after a hit during a game against Tampa Bay on Monday. He had to be taken from the field on a stretcher.

2) Pacman Jones, now of the Cincinnati Bengals, was arrested for disorderly conduct during a traffic stop on Monday. The hell you say.

3) A 24-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers fan was stabbed to death a couple of blocks from AT&T Park in San Francisco after a game between the two teams. Jonathan Denver was wearing Dodgers gear, and he and his crew got into some kind of altercation with some Giants fans.

4) Paul Oliver, a defensive back who played in the NFL for four years, ending in 2011, committed suicide this week at the age of 29.

5) The Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves got into another big, stupid, bench-clearing brawl on Wednesday after Brewer Carlos Gomez admired the homerun he had just hit in the first inning. Braves catcher Brian McCann actually kept Gomez from ever touching the plate, which is just ridiculous.

6) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw five interceptions during his team’s loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Blech.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday


Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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