Penn State Abuse

Penn State reportedly won’t appeal any NCAA sanctions


Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET, NCAA president Mark Emmert will hold a press conference laying out what has already been described as “unprecedented” penalties against the Penn State program following the release of the Freeh report.

The perplexity surrounding the term “unprecedented” is two-fold, both in the sanctions themselves — though the Death Penalty is reportedly not among them — and the path the NCAA took to arrive at the final decision. There was no Notice of Inquiry, no Notice of Allegations, no Committee on Infractions hearing or anything resembling the typical structure under which the NCAA has always operated.

Like the Sandusky scandal itself, there is no template for how the NCAA could possibly handle the situation at Penn State.

However the NCAA does decide to punish the program, Penn State won’t appeal in any way, according to “assurance” given to David Jones of the Patriot-News.

“Penn State is desirous of a positive relationship with the NCAA in the future. I believe the university is also eager to clear the decks of the Sandusky mess with as much dispatch as is possible, especially before fall semester begins,” Jones writes. “I believe the rationale is that contention would only prolong the period before healing can begin.”

That line of thinking would make sense. If the aftermath of the Freeh report has taught us anything, it’s that NCAA ramifications will be the least of Penn State’s concerns moving forward as lawsuits surely await an institution that failed to stop a child molester employee for over a decade.

Fighting the NCAA won’t result in any victory for PSU.

If there’s reason to fight, that is. Speculation through this morning and afternoon has been that Penn State and the NCAA have decided on sanctions in a joint manner, though there’s been no confirmation of that.

But consider this snippet from the NCAA’s website related to charges a program can face:

“However, if an institution agrees with the facts that the investigation has uncovered, the case can enter the summary-disposition process before a notice of allegations is provided. In summary disposition, the school and the enforcement staff agree on the facts and a set of penalties to be imposed; no hearing before the Committee on Infractions is necessary.”

Such a case would bypass the normal NCAA investigative protocol, and indeed that’s what we have here.

What we don’t have yet are answers. How will the NCAA punish Penn State? Bowl bans? Scholarship reductions? Vacated wins? Maybe a TV ban? Given the emphasis put on media and TV deals nowadays, that would be a hard-hitting sanction, but most seem rather fruitless in the grand scheme of things. It’s also equally pointless to even speculate what they’ll be until Emmert announces them tomorrow.

When he does, I think it’s reasonable to presume Penn State will accept them and move on.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.