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Joe Paterno’s Email Released Today Looks Like An Attempt To Hold Off The NCAA

“This is not a football scandal.”

Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official view of College Spun or its affiliates., a affiliate, got hold of an email sent out to former Penn State football players this morning supposedly written by Joe Paterno just a month or so before he passed in late January.

You only need to read one paragraph to realize what the Paterno family is trying to do here.

“For the last two months, at the request of the Attorney General's office, I have not discussed the specifics of my testimony regarding the pending cases. And while I will continue to honor that request, I do feel compelled to address comments made subsequent to November 9; specifically, I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal.”

For those who haven’t stayed current with the situation, tomorrow is the day that the PSU-funded report on the “Sandusky scandal” will be released.

Interesting timing, right?

The scandal cost Jerry Sandusky his freedom. It cost Joe Paterno his job and arguably shortened his life. It cost numerous Penn State coaches and officials their positions. It’s brought humiliation to former players, coaches, fans and alumni. But what the scandal hasn’t brought is any discipline from the NCAA.


No, what transpired at Penn State doesn’t have anything to do with illegal recruiting, cheating, paying players, ortrading autographs for tattoos. This isn’t a scandal that involves a program trying to get a leg up on its competitors. However, the NCAA still has leverage, and is currently reviewing whether Penn State displayed institutional control in dealing with the situation.

Some have speculated that the NCAA could levy the “death penalty” against Penn State, something that’s only happened once to an FBS program (SMU in 1987-1988). While that’s still a long shot, the mere possibility couldn’t have sat well with Paterno.

“…in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal.”

The message is clear. Paterno was trying to convey to the NCAA that this had nothing to do with athletics, and that the football program shouldn’t be punished as such.

Now we wait to see if the NCAA shares his view.