Penn State in line for NCAA death penalty

PENN STATE is anything but Happy Valley these days.

The Nittany Lions will be picking up the pieces from the Louis Freeh report for years, if not decades.

The former FBI director for President Bill Clinton was commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees to investigate the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal and offer suggestions on how to move forward.

I was riveted watching Freeh’s press conference Thursday, as he outlined his group’s findings, encompassing seven months of work.

What sticks out most for me is how a head football coach at a university of such national prestige wielded so much power? So much so that he can control the thinking of the school’s president, vice president and athletic director. All three, in theory, were Paterno’s bosses. It, however, certainly didn’t play out that way at a most crucial time.

After being made aware of many of Sandusky’s dirty deeds, all three were on board to meet with investigating authorities and pass on their evidence. That was until meeting again with Paterno, who vetoed such a move, resulting in a disgusting coverup over the course of some 10 years.

Consequently, several more youths were placed in harm’s way, falling prey to Sandusky’s sickness. That’s unforgivable.

Since the release of Freeh’s long-awaited report, much of the talk centered around Paterno’s legacy and what Penn State’s fate will be in the eyes of the NCAA.

Since he is dead, JoPa has no chance of removing the heavy coats of tarnish now shrouding his once sparkling reputation. If alive, he would have faced severe criminal charges.

There have been efforts set in motion to have his name removed from the university’s library, to which he has donated millions, and whether to take down his statute outside Beaver Stadium.

Time, as well as the university’s board of trustees, will determine if such moves will take place. I would say keep the name on the library and remove the statue. He did so much for the betterment of the library. The same cannot be said of the lasting memory he has left on the football program.

The NCAA, meanwhile, is facing a case like never before. The death penalty is a distinct possibility for the Nittany Lions. The death penalty lives up to its name as it killed the SMU football program in the 1980s.

For all the damage that emanated from the football program and a lack of institutional control by the school’s leadership, Penn State should be dealt the harshest penalties possible. A total cleansing of the program is needed.

To be fair to the Nittany Lion gridders, they should all be allowed to transfer to any Division I school and not be forced to sit out a year, as is current NCAA policy. The players are not the bad guys in this disgusting scenario.

By the way, Freeh was paid more than $3 million for work.


STRESSFUL FACT: I heard this tidbit the other day. One million Americans miss work each day due to stress.

MARTINS FERRY will be a beehive of activity Tuesday. The Ferry Chamber will move its monthly luncheon meeting to a breakfast format at 8:30 a.m. that day. The switch is being made to accommodate a ribbon cutting and official grand opening for National Lime & Stone on North First Street, above RG Steel Co. The new business promises to be a major shot-in-the-arm for the city.

RABIES ALERT: The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department has put area residents on alert, warning people to avoid contact with raccoons. The department recently tested a wild raccoon positive for rabies in the Oakmont section of Wheeling. It was the first such positive test of 2012. A year ago, West Virginia had 138 confirmed cases of rabies.

THE BRITISH Open unfolds Thursday. My pick: Justin Rose.

THE BELLAIRE Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its July luncheon meeting on Thursday at noon in the Community Room of the Bellaire Public Library. The cost of the luncheon is $7. There is no charge to attend the meeting. All local businesses and their employees are welcome to attend. The chamber is launching its “Christmas in July Fundraiser” for the replacement of village Christmas lights with LED bulbs. Luncheon reservations are due by Tuesday by calling the chamber office 740-676-9723 or email

BELLAIRE AND fires have become synonymous. There were two more burned residences in the village this past week. The one which occurred on Wednesday morning at 37th and Jefferson streets has Police Chief Michael Kovalyk commending two of his officers. Lt. Bill Shallcross and Patrolman Kevin Yates were the first on the scene. They entered the fully engulfed house rescuing and alerting the occupants. One person rescued from the blaze was transported to OVMC and later transported to a Pittsburgh hospital.

Kapral may be reached at