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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Barry Tramel's Reply to my comments on Penn State U Football

Barry Tramel sent me a reply giving his reasons why the NCAA should not step in and shut down Penn State's football program.



Lynn: Interesting. I guess I would say this. If Penn State football should be shut down, then the Catholic Church should have been shut down, too.What needed to happen was the Catholics (sic) to shut down themselves. What needs to happen if (sic) for Penn State to shut itself down. If the NCAA shuts down Penn State, it could have the reverse effect of changing the culture. It could galvanize Penn State into some kind of victim's mentality, that everyone is out to get them. That doesn't need to happen. The culture needs changed (sic).
 (Please note that I have added the "sic" comments not in any negative fashion, but simply to quote accurately.)

My response was that the Catholic Church has to answer to its authority for its actions (a slightly higher one than the NCAA). However, PSU has to answer to the NCAA for its actions in sports, and that makes it ultimately the NCAA responsibility to see that PSU does the right thing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Should Penn State Lose Its Football Program?

I wrote to Barry Tramel, a sports columnist for The Oklahoman newspaper about his opinion on whether or not Penn State Univ. should lose its football program.  I have reprinted my remarks below. I will reprint his reply. Feel free to join in the debate.


Hi Barry,

I would like to know your opinion about whether Penn State should lose its football program

I have read several opinion pieces calling for something like this to happen.  I have to realize that my politics are quite "left-wing"; therefore, most of the blogs I read are of the same stripe.

However, I believe that Penn State has lost the right to run a football program, and that it should be closed for a significant amount of time. (5 years is the number I would call for.)

I have several reasons for this:

1. This was not just a horrible crime. It was also a systemic failure of a program more concerned with image and self-preservation than with the innocent lives being destroyed.

2. Since those in charge of the football program were covering up these crimes to protect the program, the penalty for their crimes should be the loss of what they attempted to protect.

3. This would send a message to all of college football that it is far better to "tarnish your image" than it is to engage in a cover-up since you risk losing anything to tarnish.

I am aware of at least some of the arguments against ending PSU football, and in my, perhaps not so, humble opinion, they don't hold water.

1. This would punish innocent football players.  Yes, these young men would have to find a new program as their step ladder to the NFL or a college degree (perhaps), but if one is good enough to get a PSU scholarship, the odds are well in that player's favor to find a new scholarship.

2. This would "punish" "innocent" fans.  First, I am sickened by many of the fans reaction to the scandal as they wanted to punish the victims for exposing the crimes.  Also, there is no "right" to sports entertainment. The fans and alums of PS have no right to demand that their desire to paint themselves in school colors and show up on a fall Saturday precedes the need to provide a just punishment for a program that was involved in a criminal conspiracy. 

3. The NCAA has no business getting involved in this. I know you argued this in a column you wrote, but I argue that PSU is not likely to take this step on their own. They should, but in the event they don't, the NCAA should do the right thing and do it for them. See my reason #3 above for my thinking on this.

I am guessing that you have a different perspective on this, and I would like your point of view. Should you wish, again, to include my remarks in your blog or elsewhere, you have my grateful permission.

Your loyal reader,