Last week I laid out reasons why the NCAA should not have punished Penn State football, but it should come as no surprise that an an organization with a lower approval rating than Obama leading a parade of illegal immigrants to the front of the line at a jobs fair in Flagstaff came down harshly. This was low-hanging fruit for them. The consequences of a renegade NCAA are here.
But as a Penn State alumnus, what’s more disappointing to me than the punishment is that Penn State seemingly didn’t fight it at all. The public stance taken by the university (though there is at least some internal dissent) is this: Say “thoughts and prayers” as often as possible, be in a perpetual state of apology and hope to “heal” by letting people repeatedly punch you in the face.
Maybe I have more faith in society than most, but I think we have the capacity to process multiple things at once. You can apologize for what happened without apologizing for absolutely everything you are as an institution. You can be against child abuse at the same time you’re for Penn State. I have nothing to apologize for and neither does anyone else who went to the school, goes to the school, or is connected with the school, as long as they had nothing to do with Sandusky. President Rodney Erickson should have stood up for the school and made an argument that we can actually distinguish bad actors from bad places.
Instead, the Penn State administration is continuously caving to the Outrage Police who swoop in, demand apologies, and then say your apologies will never be enough. So why not circle the wagons with the people who have been with the school all along the way? I’m not advocating that the school run from its mistakes or only fight to protect football; just stop volunteering to lay down on the tracks in front of the steamroller.
By signing the Consent Decree without pushing back at all, Erickson didn’t just throw the baby out with the bathwater. He gave the NCAA the launch codes and let them nuke the whole house.