What's going on in the world, today? Regards to MSN and CNN, but you mean the sports world. Click, click!
Suddenly, a "light bulb moment" bounces around in your head like a paparazzi picnic as you scan several different sports channels, all covering the same story, in 200 different ways. ESPN 1 thru 34, Fox, the Bob Costas Channel (formerly NBC) and the Big Ten Network will all have their best analysts and experts parked outside of Beaver Stadium at University Park, otherwise known as Nittany Lion territory. Each reporter will have an opinion of the past, the present and what to expect for the future of a landmark and storied program, Penn St. football.
That's when you, and the rest of society, will say, "Oh yeah, the Paterno thing."
Four-years removed from the biggest NCAA sanctions on a school, and its' program, will have finally ended, leaving what is, or what is left of a football team to begin the so-called "next chapter" of Penn St. athletics.
Was it worth it? Did the millions paid in fines and the 100-plus wins vacated really cement a strong-hold on a black-eye issue not only for Penn St, but across the nation? Only time will tell. The progression may be different based on one of two scenarios.
-For Penn St. and the school...Enter, the Alumni?
I have spoken to a prominent Penn St. alum to gauge a better prospective of what the overall feelings are, currently, and for the future.
When asked if the sanctions may affect season ticket holders now, and down the road, he said.
" Perhaps, slightly...Most of the season ticket holders are Penn St. Alum and families...They are feeling more of a sense of community with another. Many feel as though we're being unfairly punished, by all."
One interesting point made about the alumni, and their monetary support for the program, was linked more towards general economic health, as opposed to a teams record or the head coach.
" Monetary support from alumni fluctuates ordinarily based on economic factors, but generally shows sharp increases when the Penn St. family faces obstacles... Point-of-fact, This past year was the 2nd highest alumni contributions, ever."
However, last year was last year. There was still a Paterno statue, and the idea of going to a playoff system instead of the BCS probably seemed intriguing to players and fans, alike. Still, if one alum can point a positive thought for what is a staggered pool of confused Happy Valley-faithful, it would be this. When asked if he will still continue strong monetary support he replied.
" I will absolutely continue to support monetarily."
Regardless of the punishment, Penn St. will continue a path towards growing as a community both on the campus, and for its' alumni. The football program will take a hit, literally, and will have an uphill battle ahead of them - Let's face it, before the sanctions they may not have gotten to a bowl game in the next four years. But, cash is king and the fan support will still be there on every Saturday to fill Beaver Stadium. Count on that.
- And, for the Sandusky victims...Enter, what?
Vacating 100-plus wins from 98' on is a good NCAA muscle-flex, but that's about it. Other than Bowden, no one will benefit from that scenario and, let's hope the NCAA and Penn St. understand that, completely. None of the victims will feel better about themselves because Penn St. can't get into a dot.com bowl, or that some dude from Grambling is the winning-est coach.
Hopefully, other schools and individuals will learn from the horrid mistakes and best-case-scenario, prevent them from reoccurring. There isn't, and shouldn't be any predictions for that sort of outcome. The present actions taken are to fix the past, and the future is now what Penn St. wants to make of it.
Not just for that school and Nittany Lion football, but for the victims of a dirty, old, man... and his buddy that covered it up.
Only time will tell.
This _is_Rick (Special and grateful thanks to the Penn St. Alumn that took time to chat with me.)