Penn State; It’s time for a time for change

I have chosen for the better part of the last year to avoid writing about the Penn State tragedy and write about the stomach churning details of what Jerry Sandusky did. But since the Freeh report, I have had a numerous range of emotions, ranging from anger to just plain disgust. I have lost a lot of respect for what was once perceived as a “clean” school and football program. I am not going to bash the school or Joe Paterno, he is gone and it won’t make anything better.

We have seen the Paterno Statue removed from in front of Beaver Stadium and the fact that Paterno’s name has been removed from a building on the Nike campus in Oregon. The Freeh report has torn down a long standing thought that Penn State was a school of virtue and value. Instead it seems like it was run by men who cared more about protecting the sacred football wins and “clean image” than protecting children’s lives.

The NCAA levied some serious fines and sanctions against the school, but even after a few days it just doesn’t feel like enough. Penn State avoided the death penalty by agreeing not to appeal, but with the heinous nature of the crimes committed by Sandusky on campus, and the ensuing cover up since 1998 it seems that something more needed to be done.  It will be up to each individual person to decide how Joe Paterno’s legacy will be remembered; The NCAA has made sure he won’t be at the forefront of any record books.

Anyone who can sit there and say with a straight face that the scholarship reductions and other sanctions will end up destroying Penn State for a long time needs to look in the mirror and come back to reality. Penn State has been one of the “Big Dogs” of the NCAA for a very long time and while they will struggle in the interim, it won’t make a difference the long run because they will still get to be on TV. Penn State will still be a destination for a lot of kids out of the northeastern part of the country. Yes, they will lose quality recruits and players now, once they are on the backside of the sanctions, it will be back to old hat for Penn State.

Penn State dodged a major bullet, and I think everyone surrounding the program knows they should have had their program shut down for at least a year. This is the time for the administration and staff at Penn State to show the country they are making huge changes across the board to prevent anything like this happening ever again. NCAA President Mark Emmert said “These sanctions will help Penn State make changes without worrying about wins and Bowl trips”

If the school can make the appropriate changes and keep their nose clean, then they will return to the upper echelon unscathed except for a big black eye. For that Penn State is very lucky. It almost makes you wonder if Penn State agreed to these sanctions to cover up other activities that an investigation would have uncovered…Guess we will never know.

Please be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Loss of Legendary figure: The passing of Joe Paterno

Upon hearing about the passing of Joe Paterno, I had to take some time to really get my thoughts and feelings into check. I have no association with Penn State or Joe Paterno in any way shape or form. But being a lifelong college football fan there have been very few figures that everyone could look up to and admire.  He was a true role model.

Joe Paterno, or “Joepa” as he has been affectionately called as long as anyone can remember, was the head coach at Penn State for 45 years. Some would occasionally say the game had passed him by and it was time for him to go. Then he would go out and have a stellar season and prove all the critics wrong. This season was supposed to be one of his best in over a decade and people wondered if he could win another championship.

Then the scandal broke in the media and it started a snow ball that even he couldn’t stop. It was unfortunate the scandal brought his coaching career to a tragic and unjust end. Joepa was a football coach first and foremost, and I doubt he truly understood the severity of what was happening at the school. He did what he felt was right. He followed the protocol he was supposed to. In the end, nobody really knows the truth except him and the administrators.

Not long after his firing, he was reported to have been stricken with cancer and it led to his passing. But much like the previous coaches who had long illustrious careers, it was only a short time before they passed on to the great coaching box in the sky. One of the finest coaches to ever coach has joined them to add his game plan to theirs.  It is entirely possible he died from a broken heart.

Joepa was a great coach, but it was the fact that he never got “famous”. Now what I mean by that is the simple fact that he didn’t buy a bigger house, or nicer cars. He didn’t wear flashy jewelry or try to make sure everyone knew how much money he had or how successful he was. He was one of the few coaches who did everything he could to improve the university, his players and bring more fame to the school and not just his football team.  He also leaves a legendary graduation rate of his players.  He showed time and time again his faith and support in his interactions with his players.

Joe Paterno was the last of a now dying breed. He coached football to change young men’s lives. He didn’t recruit players to help step them up to the NFL; he recruited players who wanted to win and wanted to obtain their degree. Maybe not all of them would earn it in their four years at the school, but many went back and completed it.

Joepa would donate most of his money back into the university over the later years of his career. I bet Nick Saban, Les Miles, Bob Stoops or Mack Brown wouldn’t do that. I am not saying those coaches aren’t great and change men’s lives, but they aren’t cut from the same mold as Joe Paterno. The world lost a great man, but college football lost a true legend. And for that, fans across the country will morn this loss.

Maybe I am just old school, and old fashioned.  I for one think College football needs more guys like Joe Paterno and a few less Nick Saban types.

Please be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook

A Tarnished legacy in Un-happy Valley

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week, you have heard about the atrocity that is happening at Penn State. While I am not going to sit here and re hash every sickening detail, I have kept quiet until a good portion of details were released and it became clear who had fault and who is just a pawn.

It has become so obvious the entire administration at the school is at fault here. From the President all the way down to the head coach; all should share in the responsibility of these grievous acts. There was a crime committed on university grounds and it was passed off from one person to another, so nobody would have to turn in a “legendary” assistant who was beloved by the whole community.

I wanted desperately to believe Joe Paterno was not at fault here, I wanted to assume he knew nothing about it. “JoePa” as he has been called for most of his career, has always been the old school coach, who kept ties to the days of greats like Bryant, Royal, and Wilkinson…etc… He has been become a “living legend” who still walked the sidelines, and seemed to over the years resurrect his career from the grave multiple times.

Each day more details have leaked out, and the number of victims has grown. But each day, people wanted to believe this just somehow bypassed “JoePa”. It is laughable to hear he reported it to his superior and then just didn’t bring it up again. By law, he did what was asked of him, but morally how can he look at himself in the mirror. But I have an even bigger issue with the graduate assistant who saw something happening and chose not to step in and try to protect the boy in the act of an obvious sexual assault. How can someone see this take place and just walk away? Only to allegedly report it the next day…

I have not been able to read one thing about this story without getting sick to my stomach over some of the details. I don’t know how the school could cover this up for as long as they did. Did they not care? Were they hoping it would just disappear? Was it all about money and image? This is a huge crime which happened at the University and even today it seems like everyone wants to put the blame on someone else.

If someone would have spoken up when it was discovered, a lot of grief could have been saved for everyone at Penn State. Now it looks like nobody will keep their job after this whole ordeal. “JoePa” will be retiring at the end of the season, and it has been reported that the president of the university will either step down or be fired very soon. This is a step in the right direction, but it won’t change what has happened.

I feel sorry for Joe Paterno because he has enjoyed a legendary career and now it will be tarnished because of this. There is no way in the future anyone can bring his name up and not be brought back to this. Maybe at some point, it won’t be brought up, but I doubt any of us will see it in our lifetime. Heaven help us, because this was allowed to happen at a public university and nobody tried to stop it. What about the lives of these kids and the life time impact this had on them? Is nothing sacred anymore?

 

***Update***

As of lastnight, Joe Paterno and the president were fired. While this is the right move, it is a sad end to a legendary career.

Please be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Kody’s Sports Korner Bowl Preview; Part 3

If you  have missed the first two bowl previews I did, check out part 1 here and part 2 here

TicketCity Bowl:
Northwestern vs Texas Tech –
Sadly this New Year will begin with this lackluster bowl. In the inaugural Ticket City Bowl in Dallas, there will be a first time meeting between the Northwestern Wildcats and Texas Tech Red Raiders. While Northwestern is looking for it’s first bowl win since 1949, Texas Tech has some concerns if it’s coach will be around for next year. But all of that aside, there are a lot questions on how will Northwestern handle the pass heavy attack of the Red Raiders. Sadly to say, Northwestern will not get it’s first bowl win here. They will be lucky to stay within 21 points of the Red Raiders.
Prediction: Texas Tech 52 – Northwestern 21

Outback Bowl:
Florida vs Penn St
:
When this match up was announced, you figured there would be retirement talks from one coach. But the coach who is going to step down isn’t the 84 year old Joe Paterno, but the 46 year old Urban Meyer. While this is a shock to most, it isn’t that big of a shock after last years flip flop. The big question about this game will be whether or not Penn State can contain a good Florida team. After their struggles with an Alabama squad earlier in the year, I don’t see this one being pretty for the Nittany Lions.
Prediction: Florida 35 – Penn State 14

Capital One Bowl:
Alabama vs Michigan St
While most everybody will be expecting Alabama to roll in this game, I expect to see Michigan St give Alabama a run for their money and pull off a upset. Michigan State has been an underrated team all year and is probably the best team coming out of the Big Ten this season. Expect an exciting game, one that should give the Big Ten it’s few bowl wins this season.
Prediction: Michigan State 28 – Alabama 21

Gator Bowl:
Mississippi St vs Michigan
This is a very ho hum match up, there are a lot of better game to watch and I am sure Michigan won’t show up so they can assure to get rid of Rich Rod. That being said, Dan Mullen will have Mississippi State ready to play. Expect this one to be a blow out.
Prediction: Mississippi State 35 – Michigan 17

GoDaddy.com Bowl:
Middle Tennessee vs Miami(OH)
For a match up of two teams that nobody cares about outside of their respective cities. This could be a good game to watch for college football enthusiasts. Miami is going to be playing with a lot of momentum from their surprise win at the MAC championship. Meanwhile Middle Tennessee is trying to get one more win and finish with a winning record. Should be a good game and expect it to be a close one.
Prediction: Miami (OH) 24 – Middle Tennessee 21

Cotton Bowl:
LSU vs Texas A&M
In one of the more exciting bowl match ups, this game should be a lot of fun to watch. But don’t expect to see any surprises here as LSU should be able to find a way to win this game and put another notch in the belt for the SEC. Only question will be if Les Miles will have some Tiger Stadium grass available at this game.
Prediction: LSU 35 – Texas A&M 28

Compass Bowl:
Pittsburgh vs Kentucky
While everyone has Pitt as their favorite and expects them to win this game, Kentucky has been able to hang tough when least expected to. This could be a spring board into next season for the Wildcats and look for a very exciting game between these two teams.
Prediction: Kentucky 28 – Pitt 21

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:
Nevada vs Boston College
Expect Nevada to play with a lot of pride and be able to move the ball at will on Boston College. This is not going to be a pretty game for the Eagles, but it could be a very close game throughout if Boston College can contain the Pistol.
Prediction: Nevada 42 – Boston College 21

That is the last of the bowl previews for the lesser bowl games. Check back soon for the BCS Preview.

Joe Paterno gets win number 400

Joe Paterno just did something that nobody in the football bowl subdivision has ever done before. He was crested over the 400 win mark. This is a great accomplishment and a history making feat. Like many of us, I grew up watching games with Joe Paterno coaching Penn State. I find it amazing that he is still coaching to this day, considering he was older than dirt when I was a little kid. With all of the negative media surrounding him and the debate over whether or not he should retire. Let’s all enjoy this for a moment and let the man bask in the glory of this.

It only seemed fitting that it took an amazing come back for him to get this win. But now that he has reached a win total that we will never see again in college football, you have to wonder what he will do this off-season. I would hope that the school will honor this accomplishment with something special in or around the stadium for everyone to enjoy.This will be something I will be able to tell my grandkids about when they see this in the record books.I feel lucky to be able to have witnessed this event and think this is great for college football. Let’s all enjoy this and give the man his due. He has been a great coach longer than most of us have been alive. I just want to say congratulations JoePa! Tonight I toast to you.