I’ve never been afraid to express my unabashed man-love for Joe Paterno, even if it meant delving into what turned out to be incorrect/false whispers/conjecture about the head coach who will leave the sidelines whenever he darn-well pleases thank you very much.
Today begets reason No. 11,248 why I (heart) that legendary man and coach. And why the game will be lesser when he’s gone.
And why, ya know, people should actually listen to the man when he speaks on a subject that’s quietly bubbling underneath the surface and seems ready to erupt.
In a story on 7-on-7 football camps — an entity quickly becoming the equivalent of AAU basketball, which is not a good thing — the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quotes Coach Paterno on this growing trend. Suffice to say, the legendary Skype-versed coach smells the very same thing that should be in the NCAA’s nostrils.
“There are in-between people getting involved starting 7-on-7 camps,” he said. “And they are literally putting kids up on auction blocks so people can get a look at them.
“And there are guys who are soliciting kids to go to a camp and getting paid to bring certain kids to camps. You don’t want those people involved in our game.”
Coach Paterno’s been there, done that, for well over half a century. If the cleanest man in college football, at 84 years of age, can take a whiff of the current collegiate football atmosphere and it doesn’t pass his smell test, it’s time for the NCAA to take a longer, harder look — much, much more than they’re doing right now — into what’s becoming nothing more than an avenue to future NCAA violations.
Coach Paterno doesn’t “want those people involved in our game”? I don’t want those people involved in this game. And the NCAA would be wise to take that sage wisdom and run with it farther and harder than they are right now.