Originally posted on The Sports Rocker  |  Last updated 11/23/11

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions leaves the field following the 2010 Capital One Bowl against the LSU Tigers at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on January 1, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Penn State won 19-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
When the Penn State trustees decided to act and remove Joe Paterno as head football coach, the reaction in Happy Valley was odd, to say the least. From the berating from homer reporters at the initial press conference with the trustees, to the students marching to Paterno's house, the atmosphere in Happy Valley has been surreal to say the least. Then yesterday, a bombshell.


While not as widely reported as every other thing that has happened at Penn State, the statement shared by former university conduct officer, Dr. Vicky Triponey, sheds a floodlight on the football program at PSU. Paterno reportedly had multiple confrontations with university officials who tried to reprimand football players due to academic and other issues that were not football related. The report by the Wall Street Journal had several examples of student conduct issues that were swept under the proverbial rug, or just ignored all together. Former Athletic Director Tim Curley was quoted in the report saying, about Paterno feeling "it should be his call if someone should practice and play in athletics."

For details about the incidents, I encourage you to read the WSJ article. There is no point in rehashing some of the details here. However, the details are grim in a "the inmates are running the asylum" kind of way. It's clear that Paterno bristled at the thought of his football players being punished by either the university administrators or the NCAA. Curley also wrote of Paterno, "[he] felt the school had 'overreacted' by deciding to allow reporting of off-campus incidents, and that the NCAA had gone 'overboard' with new rules on academic-eligibility requirements." (His quotes.) Paterno even went as far as to ask university president Spanier to remove Triponey from her position, or he would stop fundraising for the university.

Good 'ol Grandpa Joe
We're at the point of this story that every thing that comes out of Penn State just makes Paterno look bad. The "Grandpa Joe" facade has been burned to the ground. Even in his old age, he was just as aware of what was going on as he was 30 years ago. Unfortunately for the school, it wasn't just Paterno in on the patronizing. According to Triponey, when her department actually did their job, and had to look into incidents involving football players, "the calls and pleas from coaches, Board members, and others when we are considering a case are, indeed, putting us in a position that does treat football players differently and with greater privilege." Board members? We're used to hearing coaches trying to do what is best for their players, but when Board members get involved, that's a whole new story.

Last week, NCAA President Mark Emmert made a statement that the NCAA would look into the football program just to make sure rules were not broken in handling the Sandusky allegations. Fair enough. I originally was against the NCAA even investigating the issues since it was a criminal case and didn't seem to be related to player eligibility or the like. However, now I see it in a completely different light. If the NCAA wants to pay Happy Valley a visit, go ahead. And bring the storm. It is clear as day that not only Paterno, but other coaches, administrators, and even Board members put the program above the reputation of the school and the well being of its non-student population.

Whatever happens to Penn State, if they have to pay out millions in civil damages, if people get fired, or if reputations are ruined, all of it will be well deserved.
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