Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Monster Devours Happy Valley

College football is a monster.

And seemingly every week, it is something new.

The latest, Penn State's horrifying case of alleged sexual assault - rape, really - by former Paterno heir apparent Jerry Sandusky, is big enough to put all of the others into the "Also Receiving Votes" category.

The allegations, in a nutshell: Sandusky assaulted up to 8 at-risk young boys, in the Penn State showers, got caught, and Penn State coaches and administrators covered it up to avoid damage to the program's "pristine" reputation.

Goodbye, Cam Newton scandal. So long, Ohio State's tattoo controversy. Ha, Miami's hookers-n-cash expose.

Just look at this, if you can stomach it.

So how does this happen? How can something so vile be hushed away like a wideout who got a discounted car from a local dealership?

Because modern college football is a soulless monster, and it... does... not... care.

It does not care that the players make nothing, and the TV rights keep going through the roof.
It does not care that conferences which involve Boise, IDAHO, will be called the "Big East."
It does not care that dads ask for 6-figure cash for their kids.
It does not care that Ohio State players should have been ineligible immediately, there was a bowl to play.
It does not care that the Fiesta Bowl was soaked and dripping with fraud and embezzlement.
It does not care that many schools actually lose money on bowl appearances.

The monster that is modern, televised, quasi-professional college football does not care. It eats, swallows whole, and moves on.

Players, coaches, teams, budgets, conferences, ethics, morals, tradition, decency.

It eats it all.

An omnivore that nobody dares to stand up to.

The University Presidents won't do it. The NCAA won't do it. Congress won't do it. The TV networks won't do it, because they are the ones on the other end of the thick iron chain leash.

And we feed the beast. Yep. We the fans. We the media. We the rah-rah people with our face paint and BBQ ribs in the parking lot.

The LSU-Alabama game was another perfect example. Yes, it was a heavyweight matchup. But the dripping "oohs" and "ahhs" from everybody was just about enough to make you puke.

ESPN fed us 24/7 coverage starting on Tuesday, with reporters literally waking up with the coaches and driving in to work with them, cameras rolling and mics live.


The game was close, hard hitting, low scoring. Alabama's poor kicker couldn't hit the Gulf of Mexico from the deck of the Queen Mary. Given how a previously disgruntled 'Bama fan fatally poisoned two 100 year old oak trees to make him feel better, I would say that kicker should hire a food taster for a while.

Do I have an answer? I am about to make some soap-box like media "demands".

No. No I am not. I have no answers, and there's enough people on soapboxes already.

There's nothing that can be done, until the people in charge of the game, decide they want to have something done to at least trim the monsters claws, if not put it in a cage of some sort.

I do love the product on the field. But the system producing it is nothing short of abysmal. Even if you didn't mind the low-level criminality, bribery, assaults and what-not, the sport still decides its champion in the most grotesquely unpopular way.

I know how this season ends. An interminable 30-some days after the last regular season game. With a single "championship" determined by computers and polls. It'll take place about a week after New Years, be played on a weeknight, and start about 9:30 eastern, and last at least 3 hours and 45 minutes.

And chances are, it'll be a blowout.

Meanwhile, Penn State is trying to figure out how they can shield a nearly senile Joe Paterno from having to describe in open court, penis on penis action in his program's lockeroom showers, and why he and the entire program seemed to care more about their image than saving young boys a lifetime of pain and misery.

And yeah, the same monster - college football - killed a kid trying to film a practice in 50 mph winds on a 30-foot scissors lift for a maniac of a coach, and nobody got fired. I'll never let that one go.

Good times.

All that said, I think Stanford is in a great spot, given how shaky Oklahoma State has looked as of late. And part of me hates myself for even thinking about that, or writing it.


  1. Considering that the Queen Mary is in Long Beach (CA) I'd be pretty impressed if the Alabama kicker could hit the Gulf of Mexico from there.
    Otherwise, you're spot on about the issues in college football. But who will step up and change it? Nobody, as long as fans buy whatever the NCAA sells them. Maybe the Occupy folks can redirect their efforts... Nah, who am I kidding?

  2. I am a long time admirer of Penn State but have to say that this revelation stuns and sickens me. Penn States fans probably feel the same way and - one can only hope - that they get mad enough to tell Joe Pa it is time to move on. I doubt they'll do it though, since too many will argue that he's done too much for the game to be forced out over something like this.
    But life isn't always fair. It sure wasn't fair for the 10 year old boy being raped in PSU's locker room that Joe and others seemed not to care about trying to help. Nor was it fair to the subsequent victims of PSU's in-house predator who - even after the shower incident - was permitted to roam the University grounds while Joe Pa and the rest turned their heads. Paterno is quoted as saying; "Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy." He also said "Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person's control." That kid in the shower and the grad student who saw what happened, were depending on Joe Paterno. it was within his control to stop this monster. He didn't do it. He let the down. It was within his control to stop this monster, but he didn't. Paterno lost his sense of excellence, and - yes - it is tragic for him, the program, and the kids his colleague molested.

  3. well done for the most part, czabe...but this is an extremely inappropriate occasion to throw in extra jabs with your lemming-esque opinion of the BCS as well as exposing us again to your twisted view of the notre dame situation where you act like brian kelly did something those takes for another time

  4. Rumor has it that Joe Pa's attorneys plan to use the Uncle Leo "I'm an old man, I was confused" defense.

  5. Sorry, John A. The Brian Kelly analogy fits.

    Phalanxes of assistants, bureaucrats and educators, all normally quite attentive to their place and perks within the pecking order, suddenly turn blind to common sense because it involves football. And afterwards, nobody can exactly pin down whose responsibility it was to care about a human being's safety, but they are all certain it wasn't theirs. Sound about right?

  6. Agree, JoePa is a monster. Because he reported what he knew to his boss immediately after getting conflicting/confusing reports about someone who didn't work for him anymore... If it turns out Joe knew everything (and sorry, you'll have to wait an entire 24 news cycle to find out)... I'll be the first to call for Joe's resignation. Unless of course Czabe, could you provide the memo with the subject line - "Boy Raped, Need to Protect PSU Image" from Joe's desk.

    Oh, he had a "moral" obligation? Really? Most people don't stop when they see a car fire with people jumping out..."come on kids, got to get to the soccer game... oh, pretty flames" At least Joe saw smoke somewhere and called the fire department. Apparently everyone thinks he should have jogged over the hill to see the smoldering wreckage. Be honest, you wouldn't have. You have other things in your life to do.

    And I'll take "morality" advice from a guy who reports on golf and Redskins football right after I take advice from a misogynistic proprietor of a website that puts up pictures of women to be judged like sexual hor dourves. And FYI, Maria Kirilenko is waaayyy hotter than Maria Sharapo.

    Love ya Czabe, but your rush to judgement on this one is way off. Long time listener... keep up the good work (save today's)

  7. @Eric... No, he didn't call the fire department. He called the owner of the building (PSU) and the owner simply said, "Eh, it will burn itself out. Everything is fine. So, who do we play next?" If he called the fire department (the proper law enforcement authorities), then all the procedures and policies of saving people from the fire would have taken place. That call never happened and more people got burned.

    Joe Pa was one of the primary leaders of the building. He failed. He must resign immediately.

  8. @Matt... you're focusing on semantics and missing my point. Let me rephrase, he saw smoke and called a higher authority. If it is proven he saw actual fire, he should have called the fire department. No question.

    Also, you can't sit there and ask someone to resign over this because you are mad about it. Because if we begin to set that precedent, everyone will start getting fired over anything.
    The mere appearance of impropriety in the court of public opinion is no reason to call for someone's immediate removal. (just ask Bill Clinton, he played that card perfectly)

    You need to remove emotion from this equation, (which is nearly impossible, given the crimes) get the facts and make a sound judgement.

    I appreciate your comments and thanks for the thoughtful response.

    Remember, sadly... we are all expert judges of virtue from a distance.

  9. "Who told you to put the cheese on? I didn't tell you to put the cheese on. You don't have to help anybody. That's what this country is all about." ~Jackie Chiles

    That said, Joe Pa and Brian Kelly's sins of omission reserve them a special place in hell, IMO. But I can attest that the higher profile the program, the more insidious university politics become. I'm not giving McQueary the Daywalker a FastPass on this one, but it takes a lot of fortitude to go out on a limb and do the right thing. Not everyone is built to be a hero.
    I wish strength and courage for the victims and their families. And a swift kick in the ass for those Penn State rioters screaming their support for Paterno. Watching him spout his nonsense last night reminded me of when Uncle Junior tried the insanity defense. It's a matter of time before Joe Pa is running card games in the rec room after buying off orderlies. No winners here.