Penn State and collective guilt

The governor of Pennsylvania is suing the NCAA for its harsh punishment of Penn State, hitting the entire university because of Coach Jerry Sandusky’s molestation of children:

Pennsylvania’s governor, in a challenge to the NCAA’s powers, claimed in a lawsuit Wednesday that college sports’ governing body overstepped its authority and ”piled on” when it penalized Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Gov. Tom Corbett asked that a federal judge throw out the sanctions, which include an unprecedented $60 million fine and a four-year ban on bowl games, arguing that the measures have harmed students, business owners and others who had nothing to do with Sandusky’s crimes.

”A handful of top NCAA officials simply inserted themselves into an issue they had no authority to police under their own bylaws and one that was clearly being handled by the justice system,” Corbett said at a news conference.

The case, filed under federal antitrust law, could define just how far the NCAA’s authority extends. Up to now, the federal courts have allowed the organization broad powers to protect the integrity of college athletics.

In a statement, the NCAA said the lawsuit has no merit and called it an ”affront” to Sandusky’s victims.

Penn State said it had no role in the lawsuit. In fact, it agreed not to sue as part of the deal with the NCAA accepting the sanctions, which were imposed in July after an investigation found that football coach Joe Paterno and other top officials hushed up sexual-abuse allegations against Sandusky, a former member of Paterno’s staff, for more than a decade for fear of bad publicity.

The penalties include a cut in the number of football scholarships the university can award and a rewriting of the record books to erase 14 years of victories under Paterno, who was fired when the scandal broke in 2011 and died of lung cancer a short time later.

via Pa. governor sues NCAA over Penn State sanctions – Yahoo! Sports.

Here is an example of ascribing collective guilt.  Sandusky is certainly guilty, as are other coaches and administrators who overlooked and covered up his crimes.  But how far does that guilt extend?  Does it make sense to punish the entire university?  Does it make sense to void 14 years worth of victories, erasing them as if they never happened, even though none of the players who won those victories had any involvement in the scandal?  Or is the crime of Sandusky tied to the culture of the school, to its very football tradition, to the attitudes of the students, alumni, administration, faculty, and staff so that the whole institution has a collective guilt?

HT:  Trey

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dave

    In general, I always have thought that the NCAA is nuts the way it does it’s punishment. While the guilty players and coaches go on to high paid jobs in the NFL or at another college, the people who had nothing to do with the violations ended up being sanctioned.

    The Penn State sanctions are way over the top. No one getting sanctioned was guilty of anything. This was something better left to the legal system and not the NCAA.

  • Dave

    In general, I always have thought that the NCAA is nuts the way it does it’s punishment. While the guilty players and coaches go on to high paid jobs in the NFL or at another college, the people who had nothing to do with the violations ended up being sanctioned.

    The Penn State sanctions are way over the top. No one getting sanctioned was guilty of anything. This was something better left to the legal system and not the NCAA.

  • Dan Kempin

    About time.

    Frankly, I think the NCAA should have suit brought against it for extortion. Seriously.

    (This said with no love for college sports in general or for Penn State in particular.)

  • Dan Kempin

    About time.

    Frankly, I think the NCAA should have suit brought against it for extortion. Seriously.

    (This said with no love for college sports in general or for Penn State in particular.)

  • Aaron Root

    Gene, there is collective guilt, and then there is collective consequence. I think the latter is a better way of looking at this. While Paterno and a few others did the outrageous thing of overlooking and covering up, the entire university benefited from the prestige generated by the football program. Thus they shouldn’t cry foul that they are suffering some collective consequence for the actions of their demigods.

    We might quibble over specifics of the sanctions, of course. Voiding win records seems an unjust (and ridiculous, and futile) attempt to pretend away real history. But for Penn State as a whole to pay no price for this despicable blot on its famous football program, as if the crimes never happened, would also be a pretending away of history.

  • Aaron Root

    Gene, there is collective guilt, and then there is collective consequence. I think the latter is a better way of looking at this. While Paterno and a few others did the outrageous thing of overlooking and covering up, the entire university benefited from the prestige generated by the football program. Thus they shouldn’t cry foul that they are suffering some collective consequence for the actions of their demigods.

    We might quibble over specifics of the sanctions, of course. Voiding win records seems an unjust (and ridiculous, and futile) attempt to pretend away real history. But for Penn State as a whole to pay no price for this despicable blot on its famous football program, as if the crimes never happened, would also be a pretending away of history.

  • http://thinkingwithareformedmind.blogspot.com Steven Mitchell

    In general, I’m in favor of variety in legal jurisdictions. Whether that be the jurisdictions of church courts, the jurisdictions of social clubs, the jurisdictions of sporting associations, or what have you. And so I’m against a state court stepping into another body’s jurisdiction. Further, I’m generally against people who are subject to these various jurisdictions ‘appealing’ to other jurisdictions when the result is not as they wish, as the Commonwealth is doing here. By joining the community, you agree to be subject to its legal jurisdiction.

    The exception, of course, is in cases of gross and egregious failure or abuse. For which purpose we ask the next question…

    In this case, I don’t think the NCAA’s sanctions meets my own standard of failure or abuse. This is largely because I’m also in favor of collective guilt in certain situations — in contrast to strictly individual guilt — something which I think recognizes a biblical concept of sin in communities vice individuals.

    So in that sense, I am fine with erasing past victories. On the other hand, there is a trickier problem with future sanctions, since those significantly affect people who were not a part of the community when the acts of guilt were performed.

  • http://thinkingwithareformedmind.blogspot.com Steven Mitchell

    In general, I’m in favor of variety in legal jurisdictions. Whether that be the jurisdictions of church courts, the jurisdictions of social clubs, the jurisdictions of sporting associations, or what have you. And so I’m against a state court stepping into another body’s jurisdiction. Further, I’m generally against people who are subject to these various jurisdictions ‘appealing’ to other jurisdictions when the result is not as they wish, as the Commonwealth is doing here. By joining the community, you agree to be subject to its legal jurisdiction.

    The exception, of course, is in cases of gross and egregious failure or abuse. For which purpose we ask the next question…

    In this case, I don’t think the NCAA’s sanctions meets my own standard of failure or abuse. This is largely because I’m also in favor of collective guilt in certain situations — in contrast to strictly individual guilt — something which I think recognizes a biblical concept of sin in communities vice individuals.

    So in that sense, I am fine with erasing past victories. On the other hand, there is a trickier problem with future sanctions, since those significantly affect people who were not a part of the community when the acts of guilt were performed.

  • rlewer

    Sandusky’s crimes did not help win any games. The program was not built on Sandusky.

    There are criminal penalties for aiding and abetting. Why punish the football players?

  • rlewer

    Sandusky’s crimes did not help win any games. The program was not built on Sandusky.

    There are criminal penalties for aiding and abetting. Why punish the football players?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If the sanctions are too heavy, why doesn’t Penn State quit the NCAA?
    Or would that be a fate worse than the sanctions?

    Why is the Federal Government involved at all?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If the sanctions are too heavy, why doesn’t Penn State quit the NCAA?
    Or would that be a fate worse than the sanctions?

    Why is the Federal Government involved at all?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I like what the NCAA did because it lays the penalty on those who ignore that an SOB is and SOB just because he is our SOB. Without collective punishment, the whole culture will not change. Consider the collective punishment of Exxon for the Valdez accident. The whole culture of Exxon changed after that. Working at Shell, BP, Mobil (before the merger) was a totally different climate. Do we really believe that only the captain of the Valdez should be punished? If so, what is the appropriate punishment for him? Would a $50k fine and 1000 hours community service sound about right?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I like what the NCAA did because it lays the penalty on those who ignore that an SOB is and SOB just because he is our SOB. Without collective punishment, the whole culture will not change. Consider the collective punishment of Exxon for the Valdez accident. The whole culture of Exxon changed after that. Working at Shell, BP, Mobil (before the merger) was a totally different climate. Do we really believe that only the captain of the Valdez should be punished? If so, what is the appropriate punishment for him? Would a $50k fine and 1000 hours community service sound about right?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If the sanctions are too heavy, why doesn’t Penn State quit the NCAA?

    Exactly!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If the sanctions are too heavy, why doesn’t Penn State quit the NCAA?

    Exactly!

  • Dan Kempin

    Steven, #4,

    “By joining the community, you agree to be subject to its legal jurisdiction. . . . In this case, I don’t think the NCAA’s sanctions meets my own standard of failure or abuse. ”

    But the NCAA is not enforcing NCAA rules here. There is no NCAA “rule” about the sexual abuse of children. That is a legal statute and a felony, not a violation of the agreement for fair competition in college sports. I agree with your basic premise about “jurisdiction,” but the jurisdiction for Sandusky’s crime is the courts. That’s my whole point. The NCAA has no jurisdiction to judge or punish felony crimes. Their involvement in piling on punishment above and beyond a court’s decision (in their own self interest, mind you) is nothing less than extortion.

    Or perhaps my legal understanding is wrong. If you employ a person who gets a DUI, you can fire him, but you can’t levy a $2,000 fine for drunk driving and tell him that he can’t work for you unless he pays it, can you?

    Maybe you can. (Lawyers, can you help me out?) If so, I can start charging members of my congregation fees for any legal fines they may have incurred.

  • Dan Kempin

    Steven, #4,

    “By joining the community, you agree to be subject to its legal jurisdiction. . . . In this case, I don’t think the NCAA’s sanctions meets my own standard of failure or abuse. ”

    But the NCAA is not enforcing NCAA rules here. There is no NCAA “rule” about the sexual abuse of children. That is a legal statute and a felony, not a violation of the agreement for fair competition in college sports. I agree with your basic premise about “jurisdiction,” but the jurisdiction for Sandusky’s crime is the courts. That’s my whole point. The NCAA has no jurisdiction to judge or punish felony crimes. Their involvement in piling on punishment above and beyond a court’s decision (in their own self interest, mind you) is nothing less than extortion.

    Or perhaps my legal understanding is wrong. If you employ a person who gets a DUI, you can fire him, but you can’t levy a $2,000 fine for drunk driving and tell him that he can’t work for you unless he pays it, can you?

    Maybe you can. (Lawyers, can you help me out?) If so, I can start charging members of my congregation fees for any legal fines they may have incurred.

  • Dan Kempin

    Mike and sg,

    For the record, Penn State is not the one challenging this. They have obediently rolled over in their own self interest. I don’t pity them, either. I just find it annoying that the NCAA is allowed to seem noble or righteous here. What they are doing is pure self interest and hypocrisy. Oh, and unfair/illegal. And will accomplish nothing constructive.

  • Dan Kempin

    Mike and sg,

    For the record, Penn State is not the one challenging this. They have obediently rolled over in their own self interest. I don’t pity them, either. I just find it annoying that the NCAA is allowed to seem noble or righteous here. What they are doing is pure self interest and hypocrisy. Oh, and unfair/illegal. And will accomplish nothing constructive.

  • DonS

    It’s hard to see how the State of Pennsylvania has standing for this suit. I understand that Penn State is a state school, but it is also its own legal entity, and it expressly agreed with the NCAA not to litigate over the imposed penalties as part of the deal. The state’s standing is only through the institution of Penn State, which is, by its own admission, not a party to the suit. So, the outcome is inevitable. a) the suit will be thrown out for lack of standing, or b) the suit will be thrown out because of the contractual promise by Penn State not to sue.

    That aside, the crimes were committed by an ex football coach and at least one of them was committed in the football shower room. It is well established that the football program did not exercise adequate control over its facilities, and that personnel both within the administration and football coaching staff were aware of serious accusations against Sandusky and did not act to resolve them. I am not a fan of the NCAA. USC received penalties of a somewhat lesser, but similar scope, wherein the entire football program was severely penalized for five years, several years of victories were wiped out, a football championship was wiped out, because the parents of one football player accepted housing from an agent hundreds of miles away from the campus. A USC assistant coach who lost his job over the incident is suing the NCAA, and some terrible emails have been uncovered evidencing that the NCAA was on a witch hunt to “get USC” and did not care one bit about the actual facts of the case. But, it’s the system that is in place, and I don’t see how Penn State’s guilt in the Sandusky matter is any less attenuated than that of USC in the Bush matter. The concept of “lack of institutional control”, on the basis of which both institutions were disciplined, is a very broad one.

    I do think there will be some reforms to NCAA disciplinary procedures which will come out of this, for future cases. But Penn State is not going to escape the imposed sanctions through this legal action.

    As for community guilt, that is clearly a biblical concept. Israel was punished because of the actions of its leaders, mankind is guilty because of Adam’s actions, families were cursed in Old Testament times because of the actions of their ancestors. In the sports world, by the time the improper actions come to light, the NCAA has no jurisdiction, typically, over the perpetrators. So, the program pays the price. It’s the system we have.

  • DonS

    It’s hard to see how the State of Pennsylvania has standing for this suit. I understand that Penn State is a state school, but it is also its own legal entity, and it expressly agreed with the NCAA not to litigate over the imposed penalties as part of the deal. The state’s standing is only through the institution of Penn State, which is, by its own admission, not a party to the suit. So, the outcome is inevitable. a) the suit will be thrown out for lack of standing, or b) the suit will be thrown out because of the contractual promise by Penn State not to sue.

    That aside, the crimes were committed by an ex football coach and at least one of them was committed in the football shower room. It is well established that the football program did not exercise adequate control over its facilities, and that personnel both within the administration and football coaching staff were aware of serious accusations against Sandusky and did not act to resolve them. I am not a fan of the NCAA. USC received penalties of a somewhat lesser, but similar scope, wherein the entire football program was severely penalized for five years, several years of victories were wiped out, a football championship was wiped out, because the parents of one football player accepted housing from an agent hundreds of miles away from the campus. A USC assistant coach who lost his job over the incident is suing the NCAA, and some terrible emails have been uncovered evidencing that the NCAA was on a witch hunt to “get USC” and did not care one bit about the actual facts of the case. But, it’s the system that is in place, and I don’t see how Penn State’s guilt in the Sandusky matter is any less attenuated than that of USC in the Bush matter. The concept of “lack of institutional control”, on the basis of which both institutions were disciplined, is a very broad one.

    I do think there will be some reforms to NCAA disciplinary procedures which will come out of this, for future cases. But Penn State is not going to escape the imposed sanctions through this legal action.

    As for community guilt, that is clearly a biblical concept. Israel was punished because of the actions of its leaders, mankind is guilty because of Adam’s actions, families were cursed in Old Testament times because of the actions of their ancestors. In the sports world, by the time the improper actions come to light, the NCAA has no jurisdiction, typically, over the perpetrators. So, the program pays the price. It’s the system we have.

  • helen

    It would seem the NCAA feels it has to do something drastic when a public scandal erupts, in hopes of convincing the public that college athletics is otherwise “pure as the driven snow”.
    [Which it may be... ever tried melting down a tub of snow?]

    Football should have its own farm system, like baseball, and pay the young men a realistic salary for their efforts to please alumni and oddsmakers.
    As it is, the “workers” take the risks to their health and all the profit goes to the top. [But that's where it usually goes.] :(

  • helen

    It would seem the NCAA feels it has to do something drastic when a public scandal erupts, in hopes of convincing the public that college athletics is otherwise “pure as the driven snow”.
    [Which it may be... ever tried melting down a tub of snow?]

    Football should have its own farm system, like baseball, and pay the young men a realistic salary for their efforts to please alumni and oddsmakers.
    As it is, the “workers” take the risks to their health and all the profit goes to the top. [But that's where it usually goes.] :(

  • Dan Kempin

    Don,

    I do not have a legal background, but it seems to me that there is a difference between the USC case, which involved (however tenuously) a violation of NCAA rules, and not a crime. The charge there was that a player, indirectly, received compensation. That involves the program and invokes the NCAA jurisdiction.

    In this case, Sandusky was not using the facility to pay players nor was he acting on behalf of the program. He was an employee who committed a crime on school property. That crime may open the school up to liability from the victims or the state, but I fail to see what it has to do with the football program.

    (And yes, I understand that Penn State has essentially volunteered for this and that it is a done deal. I just want to know if I am thinking correctly.)

    If Penn State had wanted, which they clearly do not, it seems to me that they could have fought this.

  • Dan Kempin

    Don,

    I do not have a legal background, but it seems to me that there is a difference between the USC case, which involved (however tenuously) a violation of NCAA rules, and not a crime. The charge there was that a player, indirectly, received compensation. That involves the program and invokes the NCAA jurisdiction.

    In this case, Sandusky was not using the facility to pay players nor was he acting on behalf of the program. He was an employee who committed a crime on school property. That crime may open the school up to liability from the victims or the state, but I fail to see what it has to do with the football program.

    (And yes, I understand that Penn State has essentially volunteered for this and that it is a done deal. I just want to know if I am thinking correctly.)

    If Penn State had wanted, which they clearly do not, it seems to me that they could have fought this.

  • DonS

    Dan @ 13: It is true that the issue of whether the NCAA had jurisdiction over a matter that did not involve competitiveness issues (i.e. recruiting or academic violations) was hotly debated. However, the conclusion of both the NCAA and Penn State was that the catch-all “lack of institutional control” provision in the NCAA rules gave them authority, since the program was, through its facilities and staff, directly involved in hosting and failing to take reasonable measures to stop the crimes at issue. It’s kind of hard to argue otherwise — i.e. that a program so out of control that serious violent crimes against children are being committed within its facilities, by its ex-officials, and with at least some knowledge of its current officials, and the administration responsible for the program — should not be in any way disciplined or corrected by the agency responsible for regulating college athletics.

  • DonS

    Dan @ 13: It is true that the issue of whether the NCAA had jurisdiction over a matter that did not involve competitiveness issues (i.e. recruiting or academic violations) was hotly debated. However, the conclusion of both the NCAA and Penn State was that the catch-all “lack of institutional control” provision in the NCAA rules gave them authority, since the program was, through its facilities and staff, directly involved in hosting and failing to take reasonable measures to stop the crimes at issue. It’s kind of hard to argue otherwise — i.e. that a program so out of control that serious violent crimes against children are being committed within its facilities, by its ex-officials, and with at least some knowledge of its current officials, and the administration responsible for the program — should not be in any way disciplined or corrected by the agency responsible for regulating college athletics.

  • Grace

    Child molestation is a hateful crime foisted on those who are innocent and trusting. Those who have been molested carry with them, for the rest of their lives the humiliation and shame from their experience.

    Anyone who knows of such crimes, or has witnessed them, MUST NOT hide the facts, but is responsible to go to the authorities.

    Penn State deserves what they got. It will serve in the future, to all teaching institutions and others what penalties are handed down when people turn a BLIND EYE.

  • Grace

    Child molestation is a hateful crime foisted on those who are innocent and trusting. Those who have been molested carry with them, for the rest of their lives the humiliation and shame from their experience.

    Anyone who knows of such crimes, or has witnessed them, MUST NOT hide the facts, but is responsible to go to the authorities.

    Penn State deserves what they got. It will serve in the future, to all teaching institutions and others what penalties are handed down when people turn a BLIND EYE.

  • Joe

    Amusing the Commonwealth prevails on the standing issue (not at all clear to me that they will), here is a pretty solid analysis of the actual anti-trust claim:

    http://deadspin.com/5928267/penn-state-could-have-fought-the-ncaa-and-won

  • Joe

    Amusing the Commonwealth prevails on the standing issue (not at all clear to me that they will), here is a pretty solid analysis of the actual anti-trust claim:

    http://deadspin.com/5928267/penn-state-could-have-fought-the-ncaa-and-won

  • Joe

    btw – simply taking the position that what happened was horrible therefore I don’t care whether the NCAA has jurisdiction is to support vigilantism. It is no different that saying, my neighbor committed murder therefore our homeowners association is going to exact whatever punishment we think just – regardless on the agreed upon scope of the associations power as expressed in the governing documents.

    Not incidentally, its this kind of thinking that leads to lots and lots of federal laws on subjects that are no business of the federal government.

  • Joe

    btw – simply taking the position that what happened was horrible therefore I don’t care whether the NCAA has jurisdiction is to support vigilantism. It is no different that saying, my neighbor committed murder therefore our homeowners association is going to exact whatever punishment we think just – regardless on the agreed upon scope of the associations power as expressed in the governing documents.

    Not incidentally, its this kind of thinking that leads to lots and lots of federal laws on subjects that are no business of the federal government.

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  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I am a little fuzzy on the standing thing.

    Okay, Penn gets a ton of money due to having its division 1 NCAA team, right? So, it is kind of like a franchise of sorts. You can’t ruin the brand. So, Penn brings a huge disgrace upon the NCAA program and the penalty for that is $$$ and participation for x amount of time. So, why does the state need standing other than that it is out a bunch of money? I mean, if you have to pay money because someone acting as your agent screws up, why can’t you contest it in court even if your agent has agreed to it?

    Someone set me straight here.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I am a little fuzzy on the standing thing.

    Okay, Penn gets a ton of money due to having its division 1 NCAA team, right? So, it is kind of like a franchise of sorts. You can’t ruin the brand. So, Penn brings a huge disgrace upon the NCAA program and the penalty for that is $$$ and participation for x amount of time. So, why does the state need standing other than that it is out a bunch of money? I mean, if you have to pay money because someone acting as your agent screws up, why can’t you contest it in court even if your agent has agreed to it?

    Someone set me straight here.

  • DonS

    sg @ 18: Penn State was chartered by Pennsylvania, but it is its own legal entity. It contracts, receives income from various sources, including student tuition, fees, federal education funds, research grants, and state subsidies, and also pays its own expenses. It is not the State of Pennsylvania, but rather the institution of Penn State, which is in contract with the NCAA for participation in intercollegiate athletics. As part of its settlement with the NCAA over the Sandusky investigation, Penn State agreed that it was subject to disciplinary action, to accept the assessed penalties, and covenanted not to sue the NCAA. It had legal counsel when making that decision.

    With this in mind, on what basis should the State of Pennsylvania have standing to sue the NCAA? Sure, it can claim it might lose some money, but so will a host of other people and entities, including local businesses, towns, and perhaps students. Should they all be allowed to intervene in court as well? The State of Pennsylvania is not a party to the contract, Penn State is. There is, therefore, no privity of contract between Pennsylvania and the NCAA giving rise to standing to sue the NCAA. What about other contracts that Penn State undertakes? Should the State of Pennsylvania be able to intervene in those freely negotiated contracts whenever it feels that Penn State didn’t get a good enough deal? Who will contract with Penn State under those circumstances, knowing that the university does not have final authority to make agreements?

    Now, I understand that the basis for the suit is federal antitrust law. But, PA is not the enforcement agency in this instance, they are claiming to be an aggrieved party, and asking the federal government to enforce the law. My view is, as stated above, that PA is not a party entitled to bring this action.

    Allowing Pennsylvania to have standing in this case would be akin to allowing a shareholder to have standing to legally intervene to overturn an agreement between the corporation in which he holds shares and a third party, by suing the third party. That would be absurd. A shareholder can sue the corporation he partially owns, but has no standing to sue the other party in the agreement.

  • DonS

    sg @ 18: Penn State was chartered by Pennsylvania, but it is its own legal entity. It contracts, receives income from various sources, including student tuition, fees, federal education funds, research grants, and state subsidies, and also pays its own expenses. It is not the State of Pennsylvania, but rather the institution of Penn State, which is in contract with the NCAA for participation in intercollegiate athletics. As part of its settlement with the NCAA over the Sandusky investigation, Penn State agreed that it was subject to disciplinary action, to accept the assessed penalties, and covenanted not to sue the NCAA. It had legal counsel when making that decision.

    With this in mind, on what basis should the State of Pennsylvania have standing to sue the NCAA? Sure, it can claim it might lose some money, but so will a host of other people and entities, including local businesses, towns, and perhaps students. Should they all be allowed to intervene in court as well? The State of Pennsylvania is not a party to the contract, Penn State is. There is, therefore, no privity of contract between Pennsylvania and the NCAA giving rise to standing to sue the NCAA. What about other contracts that Penn State undertakes? Should the State of Pennsylvania be able to intervene in those freely negotiated contracts whenever it feels that Penn State didn’t get a good enough deal? Who will contract with Penn State under those circumstances, knowing that the university does not have final authority to make agreements?

    Now, I understand that the basis for the suit is federal antitrust law. But, PA is not the enforcement agency in this instance, they are claiming to be an aggrieved party, and asking the federal government to enforce the law. My view is, as stated above, that PA is not a party entitled to bring this action.

    Allowing Pennsylvania to have standing in this case would be akin to allowing a shareholder to have standing to legally intervene to overturn an agreement between the corporation in which he holds shares and a third party, by suing the third party. That would be absurd. A shareholder can sue the corporation he partially owns, but has no standing to sue the other party in the agreement.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Thanks, Don.

    So, technically legally the university is not an agent of the state of PA even though, of course it is. So, the state will have to do the tough love thing and just not give the school more money and let the regents suck it up and cut something, football being the obvious choice.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Thanks, Don.

    So, technically legally the university is not an agent of the state of PA even though, of course it is. So, the state will have to do the tough love thing and just not give the school more money and let the regents suck it up and cut something, football being the obvious choice.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Can you explain chartering a bit? For example, the local church holds the charter for my son’s scout troop. According to BSA rules the chartering organization must approve the membership of anyone in the troop it has sponsored. So, boys and their families cannot join the troop unless approved by the church. I figure this is pretty much a rubber stamp, but I don’t know that for sure.

    Are there all different kinds of charters and all depend on what is written for each one? How is a charter different from a contract?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Can you explain chartering a bit? For example, the local church holds the charter for my son’s scout troop. According to BSA rules the chartering organization must approve the membership of anyone in the troop it has sponsored. So, boys and their families cannot join the troop unless approved by the church. I figure this is pretty much a rubber stamp, but I don’t know that for sure.

    Are there all different kinds of charters and all depend on what is written for each one? How is a charter different from a contract?

  • fws

    I question the basic premise of dr veith that there is no such thing as collective guilt.

    The Bible seems full of examples of being assigned collective guilt.

    Is collective guilt fair?
    Should we suffer the consequences of the sins of our physical, spiritual or governamental fathers?
    Does God visit judgement upon the generations of those who are disobedient? Is that fair?

    what does the Bible say about all that?

  • fws

    I question the basic premise of dr veith that there is no such thing as collective guilt.

    The Bible seems full of examples of being assigned collective guilt.

    Is collective guilt fair?
    Should we suffer the consequences of the sins of our physical, spiritual or governamental fathers?
    Does God visit judgement upon the generations of those who are disobedient? Is that fair?

    what does the Bible say about all that?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Does there need to be collective guilt for there to be collective punishment? I mean, others suffer repercussions for what I have done. If I am a jerk to my son’s friend’s parents, they won’t let their son play with mine. I am guilty, and the two kids are punished.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Does there need to be collective guilt for there to be collective punishment? I mean, others suffer repercussions for what I have done. If I am a jerk to my son’s friend’s parents, they won’t let their son play with mine. I am guilty, and the two kids are punished.

  • fws

    Sg @23

    +1!

    I am liking your posts more and more sg dear sister!

  • fws

    Sg @23

    +1!

    I am liking your posts more and more sg dear sister!

  • DonS

    sg @ 20, 21: The university is not an agent of the state. It is a subsidiary of the state. In the same way that a holding company spins off a subsidiary corporation for a particular purpose, Pennsylvania chartered (established) Penn State for the particular purpose of offering higher education to its citizens and others. Once Penn State was established as a separate legal entity, it had delegated authority to conduct business in order to further its mission. Unlike the agency relationship, where an agent specifically represents its principal, Penn State, like a subsidiary corporation, stands on its own, representing itself. It is responsible to report to Pennsylvania how it is meeting its mission, and Pennsylvania has power to oversee Penn State (its governor sits on the board, for example), and to make changes to or dissolve the charter). But in the meantime, PA and Penn State are two distinct legal entities, with separate standing issues.

    This article I found may explain the standing issue better than I have done: http://news.yahoo.com/governor-sues-ncaa-over-penn-state-sex-scandal-005248396–nfl.html

  • fws

    Don s @ 25

    Legalism Don.
    If the NCAA did not have any LEGAL authority over penn state, then there would be no point at all in this post would there be?

    At any point in time, we all have various God-appointed authorities over us , exercising their power in various ways, who are God´s own agentes in applying the brakes to our out of control Old Adam sin natures.

    Industrial standards, rule books on ettiquette, what the neighbor´s think, parents, governments, the irs, osha, the Checker at the supermarket, locksmiths, those who program security systems for websites and atms, etc etc, … even innanimate objects like traffic lights, guard rails in front of valuable paintings so we dont touch them, etc etc…

    Anything that exercises it´s control over us to curb our selfish self interest is the Holy Spirit working the death of Old Adams so that there is a place for Goodness nd Mercy among the unworthy, unfaithful and even all the wicked Old Adams.

    All goodness and mercy is a work of God and not man therefore. It is wrested out of all of us contrary to what our sinful free will desires.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 26: I’m afraid I have no idea how your comment fits into the point of the post or my comments above concerning whether the state has standing to sue the NCAA.

  • fws

    don s @ 27

    My apologies. It was not clear that your post was addressing the narrow, and very technical legal point of legal “standing”.

    I thought you were addressing the questions raised by dr Veith.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    It is one thing to have a collective consequence as a natural fallout due to sin; it is quite another to artificially install a collective consequence, which IMO anybody who does the latter should be forced to step down from his/her place of authority.

    Collective guilt for an individual’s sin is a perversion of justice. It is guilt by association. It is Charles Darnay being judged for his grandfather’s crime. It is a facet of poor government, and a tyrannical and capricious abuse of power.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws:

    I have a hard time believing that either the NCAA or the enormously corrupt, incompetent government of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is “God-appointed” in any meaningful way. But then again, I’m not Lutheran.

  • Cincinnatus

    And I have no sympathy whatsoever for advocates of Penn State. The culture of Penn State was corrupt. Indeed, the culture of college football in general is corrupt. When high levels of an institutional hierarchy are willing to condone sexual abuse (de facto, by covering it up) in order to preserve the institution, then that institution is fundamentally flawed. If not destroyed, it must at least be checked. Power corrupts always.

    Personally, I think they should have converted Penn State’s football program to an intramural club in perpetuum, but I’m not in charge.

  • http://derekjohnsonmuses.com Derek Johnson

    I follow college football closely, and while I thought PSU should have been sanction, I thought the sanctions they were given were way to harsh. The NCAA felt they had to keep up with the penalties they gave USC in the Reggie Bush scandal, so they gutted the program.
    My problem with the severity of the sanctions is that it cripples the program, and everyone is better when PSU can make the money to pay its fines. The death penalty (which the NCAA considered strongly) was only supposed to be given to programs that were out of control and not repentant for what they’d done. As soon as the scandal came to light, everyone involved was fired and PSU paid the former FBI director to do an investigation, and didn’t edit his findings for the public. It doesn’t make up for looking the other, but it said they were sorry.
    I’ve written more on this: http://wp.me/p1ZYxe-we

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The biggest travesty of all is that college sports has taken on such an importance place in academic institutions.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 28: No problem. I did address Dr. Veith’s point about collective guilt, pointing out that such is a biblical concept (@ 11), and I did point out that the NCAA has been shown to have abused its authority (also @ 11), but my main point was that the PA lawsuit is inappropriate because Penn State already acquiesced to the NCAA’s authority to impose discipline in this matter, and agreed not to sue, and the state of PA has no standing to sue the NCAA over that same issue because it is not a member of the NCAA.

    I would not call standing a “narrow and very technical legal point”. It is fundamental to our system of justice, which requires that courts only adjudicate actual cases and controversies, and ensures vigorous advocacy of the issues from both sides because the parties have something actual at stake. It also prevents the clogging of our court systems by those without a direct concern to be resolved. One of the worst things that has happened to our justice system in the past half century is a relaxation of the standing issue to permit frivolous and economically damaging lawsuits to go forward.

  • Cincinnatus

    Derek Johnson@32:

    Perhaps I’m unaware of the procedural specifics of NCAA sanctions. Does the NCAA really stipulate that “repentance” is a legitimate consideration when assessing sanctions?

    Because in what other world is that the case (aside from the grace of God, of course)? Sure, judges will sometimes grant the minimum sentence allowed if the convicted criminal is believably repentant. But you don’t get off scot-free for apologizing. Murder, for example, is murder: the judge may give you 25 years instead of life if you repent, but he isn’t going to let you do community service instead.

    Similarly, I don’t see why the NCAA should have been more merciful here. In fact, quite a few folks think that the NCAA wasn’t nearly robust enough in its penalties.

  • fws

    Cinn @ 30

    It is. Exactly so, as God as appointed and ordained your father and mother to have authority over you, and you, should you be a parent, over your children.

    and yes, cinn, that calling and authority that God intends to be a check on Old Adam so that goodness and meccy, and not sacrifice are done, is always and often subverted. But , in faith, we believe that God WILL have his way, and that his gracious good will, will be done, on eath as it is in heAven. Only the eyes of faith can be certain of this dear Cinn, and then, peculiarly, only by looking at one very dead Jew on a cross.

    Bless you in that, our common faith, even if you are only an honorary Lutheran! :)

  • fws

    Don s @ 34

    thanks for the clarification. It makes sense now what you say. I did not mean to say that standing is any less than you say it is.

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