The Corner

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Penn State


I write about Penn State today, in support of the NCAA punishment (although I’d have been happy to see the football program suspended). Our friend Bill McGurn takes the opposite tack in the Wall Street Journal today. I depart with McGurn on two big things. He thinks the NCAA’s emphasis on “the culture” at Penn State is political correctness diverting attention from the responsible individuals. But the culture at Penn State, where everyone deferred to the all-powerful football program, was partly to blame. It is difficult to see a pedophile getting the same look-the-other-way treatment if he had been in the mathematics department or part of the choral program. McGurn says the NCAA is applying punishments “that will largely be inflicted on the innocent for the failures of the guilty.” What’s this punishment of the innocent? No longer having a top-notch football program? Is that really so awful? Most institutions of higher learning don’t have ranked football teams, and they seem to get along just fine. The Penn State players who want to play in bowl games can go elsewhere. Others in it for the joy of the game can stay. And the Penn State community can demonstrate its pride — and its commitment to standards beyond winning — by rooting just as passionately for a losing team.