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And Another Thing

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A few more thoughts regarding Penn State

So who do think has more ethics here?

1. The football coaches who, according to Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, were actually sitting outside in the PSU football complex parking lot waiting to put the hard sell on Penn State players who might be thinking about transferring because of the NCAA laying the wood to the Nittany Lions program.

Or ...

2. The players who stood in front of the complex the other day and vowed not to abandon their school in its time of need, bowl games or no bowl games.

I'll give you five seconds. Which is three more than you should need.

In truth this really is a trick question, in the sense that it's no question at all. Of course it's Door No. 2. Door No. 1 is reserved, frankly, for a bunch of losers. I mean, have some common decency here.

At the very least, common decency would entail giving O'Brien the courtesy of a heads-up if you're a coach with another program and there's a player you think might be interested in transferring. I doubt O'Brien would fight you on it if you did, given the circumstances and the fact that he seems like a decent guy who's not going to stand in any player's way because of those circumstances. So what's the downside to a courtesy call?

A lot has said/written/bloviated about in the days since the NCAA dropped its truckload of hurt on the Nittany Lions, some of it said/written/bloviated about here. I stand by all of it. I understand some of the opposing arguments; I just don't agree with them.

This is especially true of the notions that the NCAA acted outside its purview, and that punishing the football program won't help any of Jerry Sandusky's victims. To the first, I say, the NCAA has punished schools for lack of institutional control many times before, and this is nothing if not the most egregious example of lack of institutional control in memory.

And as to the second?

It's true punishing Penn State's program won't help any of Sandusky's victims sleep better at night. But to extend that logic, Jerry Sandusky shouldn't have been sent to prison, because -- except for obviously preventing him from victimizing any other young boys -- that won't keep his victims' nightmares away, either.

No, you punish the football program because the football program was the great enabler of Sandusky's crimes. So if you don't punish it because you don't want to hurt players and coaches who didn't have anything to do with the Great Scandal, where's the incentive to change the culture that created the Great Scandal?

Granted, changing college football's over-arching culture is probably a lost cause, at this point. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't at least try.

Ben Smith's blog.

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