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Corman Got it Right

by on January 19, 2015 6:15 AM

By now, anyone with an interest in college football as well as those who proudly say they bleed Blue and White has heard that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has repealed the consent decree that was handed down in the wake of the Sandusky crimes.

The decree, a controversial if not conspiratorial document, outlined back-breaking sanctions against Penn State athletics and the football program in reaction to what we now know was an incomplete and jaded Freeh Report.

Public outcry, NCAA backpedaling and the thoughtful and measured reaction of a local politician and his legal team have finally righted what so many believe were the NCAA wrongs of 2012.

The 112 wins are back on the books for the players and coaches. Joe Paterno again becomes the "winningest" coach in college football history. All of the scholarship limitations, bowl bans and other sanctions are now gone although certainly not forgotten.

I would like to give Pennsylvania State Sen. Jake Corman a resounding "atta boy." Way to represent the people of your district, Senator Corman.

As Corman and Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord and their legal team turned up the heat and decisions started coming down in their favor in pre-trial rulings, the NCAA apparently saw the writing on the wall.

With NCAA President Mark Emmert and his seemingly inept team staring down Corman and McCord's court efforts to keep the $60 million fines and funds imposed in the original consent decree in Pennsylvania, the NCAA made the decision to cut and run.

The fight to keep the money local helped unpeel the onion skin -- revealing the questionable path the NCAA walked to arrive at some dubious decisions. In the end, someone over there at the NCAA decided it might be a good idea to settle. The fear of what might come out on the witness stand or what might be revealed in additional documents likely served as a motivator for the NCAA to avoid further embarrassment.

The statement in the new agreement about Penn State acknowledging that the NCAA made its decisions in "good faith" reminds me of parenting a misbehaving child. "Your decisions were not good but you are still a really good person and we still love you. Now here's a cookie."

The idea that anyone sees this agreement as acknowledgement of the authority of the NCAA is just plain silly.

At a time of what seems to be heightened political and bi-partisan gridlock, Senator Jake Corman did what the people of Pennsylvania elected him to do. He represented the citizens of his district without making it about political parties or worrying about how it might impact his re-election. He stood up against what was clearly a rush to judgment and a miscarriage of due process and did so without waiting to see which way the political wind was blowing.

It is a measure of a person's character when he stands up for what he believes – for what is right - despite opposition and pressure to do otherwise.

We need more politicians who are willing to take a stand. We need fewer politicians who worry about handshakes and parades and re-election.

At the news conference announcing the repeal, Corman reiterated that the money and the goals moving forward will be to educate communities and help to insure that others will be protected and aware. He reminded us about the young boys at the heart of the scandal. Senator Corman's disdain for the decision makers at the NCAA and their "rush to judgment" was decidedly a no-spin position. He was polite and respectful and referred to "my community" and Penn State Nation.

He had just taken on the most influential – and some would suggest corrupt – organizations in athletics and had won. The presidents of the member universities of the NCAA should sit up and take notice.

There will be critics who say that a trial would have been an opportunity to expose more of the incompetence at the NCAA. Some will say the agreement is too soft and doesn't punish the NCAA enough for its knee jerk reactions and damage to the reputation of both individuals and an institution. Some of us wonder how, if a decree is repealed, Penn State still has to cough up the $60 million.

And there will be the Penn State haters. There will be those who will always associate Penn State with a convicted pedophile, skilled in grooming individuals and in gaining the trust of a community for his own pathological purposes.

While other politicians used the Sandusky crimes to get their names in the paper or as an opportunity to yell "Me too!" from the safety and distance of their offices, Corman and McCord put their heads down and hung in there for the long haul.

Way to go Senator Corman and treasurer McCord. Standing up for what is right is never wrong.

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Patty Kleban is an instructor at Penn State, mother of three and a community volunteer. She is a Penn State Alumna. Readers of State College Magazine voted her Best Writer of 2010 and 2012. She and her family live in Patton Township. Her views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State.
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