Many times, Dave Ridpath's is a voice in the wilderness when it comes to college corruption. But this is his time. It has to be with the release of the Penn State penalties on Monday.
The Ohio University sports administration professor is an academic reformer with impeccible credentials. He is a member of The Drake Group, an organization of educators dedicated to academic integrity. His struggle against the NCAA was detailed in "Tainted Glory: Marshall University, the NCAA and One Man's Fight for Justice," one of the best books ever written on the inside workings of the NCAA investigative process. And its abuses.
Ridpath remains a go-to source on all things NCAA when it comes to clash between academics and athletes. While on vacation, Ridpath took time out from vacation to offer his opinion on the implications of the Penn State penalties. They are profound.
I am not holding my breath that it will change the culture overall. Even with this I still sense that many think, "It will never happen to us." I also get the sense that, while we will not see another Joe Pa in years served, power coaches still will lord over campuses and project a fearful culture that does not want to rock the boat—which again brings me back to faculty who can fight back with academic freedom and tenure.
While I hope this will be a cautionary tale and other schools will finally get control of their athletic departments—I am not getting that feeling. Will a president or AD truly stand up to a power coach and the fallout from disciplining him/her (Arkansas AD Jeff Long not withstanding)? I am not so sure, but at the very least this is a wake up call to all of us that a person or program is not bigger than the institution and I would love the NCAA to pursue things like an anti-trust exemption to reign in salaries and also instill academic disclosure to insure education is happening.
[NCAA president] Mark Emmert was a bit self serving [Monday] and almost made me gag because there are so many other issues that caused this culture that enabled Paterno and Sandusky. Those things are not being addressed ( again academic corruption, money, corporate sell outs, etc.)
As far as the penalties—I am not a fan of the process or how the NCAA did, but simply put: Penn State deserves everything they get and it is far from over. I cannot fault the penalties and I know the collateral damage is immense and innocents will suffer. But we all played a part in this culture being omnipotent and everyone must suffer a bit. If I were Emmert I would not have done it this way but I might have done an investigation to see if NCAA rules were violated etc. like Baylor.
Still it is hard to argue with the end result as PSU needs to be knocked down a few notches. We heard the crap of victory with honor for so long now knowing this nothing is too harsh. While I wish it were done another way or just left to the courts, Department of Education and lawsuits, it is hard to argue with the result.
Penn State football will never be the same and it shouldn't be. I just hope others listen too.