Well, as official as a corrupt organization like the NCAA can make it. An organization as despicable as the NCAA just might believe that the wins are what we’ve been after. Perhaps they think they threw us a bone.
As glad as I am to have something back that never should have been taken away, I’m also a bit let down. We all know it’s never been about the wins. It’s a ridiculous notion to think that just because you are the NCAA and you say so, you can erase history. There was a Facebook campaign going on that listed a short description of each one of the vacated wins. Many of the games I attended. They were won. I was there. If I wasn’t there, you probably were. The opponents fell in Beaver Stadium and across the country and we were all there to hear it. Anyway, we all know it was absurd so let’s just be glad that part of the problem is resolved.
The bigger problems, though, are far from resolved. We are all waiting for the rest of the truth. One thing that was clear with this recent announcement is that there is a big truth out there and lots of people are trying to keep it quiet. Why else would the NCAA fold to avoid trial? Why else would Penn State remain on the same side as the NCAA in the Corman case?
Let’s face it. Our board of trustees wanted this whole thing to go away. Karen Peetz predicted that this would all be forgotten by 2014. It seems the decision making is still in hopes that it all goes away. Power blocks. Meeting boycotts. Removing the public comment portion of the trustee meetings to a separate location and time. The alienation of concerned, educated alumni is not going unnoticed.
What was not won in this ambiguous dissolving of the consent decree was a change in narrative. The consent decree is dissolved, after most of the damage has been done, and replaced by an integrity agreement. The language in the NCAA statement is laughable: “we acted in good faith” and “we are impressed with Penn State’s progress.” Doesn’t sound like much remorse for “capitalizing on a horrific crime,” as Senator Corman put it.
In his press conference, Corman was asked about the NCAA’s lack of apology or any indication of overstepping their authority. He replied, “If you thought what you did was right, you wouldn’t have repealed the decree before going to trial. Their actions say it.” Actions speak louder than words. Generally, I agree. Look at Penn State’s leadership lauding the university with their words and proceeding to dismantle it at every turn.
However, we are dealing with a terribly inaccurate narrative. Restoring Paterno’s wins causes a resurgence in ignorant Paterno bashing and more fact-less reporting. That’s why I can’t settle for this settlement. Penn State, by acknowledging the NCAA’s right to act, allows the false narrative to continue. Did you catch the sentence at the end of the press conference that let us know Penn State will be reimbursing the state for the legal costs? Yep.
Restoring the wins is the only thing that’s okay about the settlement agreement. I’m getting tired of educating. Where were the media on campus this time around? A big announcement made and no one there to see the student body reaction? Is it that peaceful happiness doesn’t get clicks on your website? Or do you also enjoy the anti Penn State narrative? I’m tired of trying to turn the tide one misinformed molecule at a time. Yet “Penn State” won’t step up, so Penn Staters have to.
It is up to us.
Coach Paterno has a well-known quote about excellence vs success. I’m paraphrasing here: There are many people who think success and excellence are the same thing. They are not the same thing... the burden for the victim of the success mentality is that he is threatened by the success of others and he resents real excellence. Looks like somebody’s got a case of resentment. NCAA, media, non alumni elected trustees-- I’m looking at you.
What everyone--the media, the public, the NCAA, and even our own board of trustees underestimated was the resolve of Penn State alumni. We learned the difference between success and excellence. We are striving for excellence and we are not going away. We’ll take the wins, thank you; one success along our journey for excellence. We’d love the statue as well. But, what we are after is the truth and we will not rest until it’s known.