On September 24th, 2013, NCAA president, Mark Emmert increased the number of football scholarships that Penn State can offer student athletes. The fact that the university’s governing body has complied with everything asked of it is the alleged reason for the reduction in sanctions.

It’s a compelling reason and one that makes Penn Staters proud to be part of the Penn State culture. No one doubts, except Sandusky the perpetrator, that a horrible thing was allowed to happen — that people in powerful positions, including Joe Paterno, didn’t deal with the horror in a way that would have made all of us proud. He did what was required by law, but didn’t do what we all would have expected from him and ourselves. Joe often said, “We need players to step up and make the big plays”. Sadly, in this important instance, Joe didn’t step up and do what a man of his prestige and caliber would most likely do if he had the chance to do it again.

NCAA president, Mark Emmert, is also a person, who like the rest of us, has feelings and was most likely horrified by the monster that was allowed to roam freely through the Lasch Complex football locker room with young boys. When he read the Freeh Report, the knee jerk reflex was probably, SOMETHING STRONG AND DRAMATIC NEEDS TO HAPPEN HERE.

With the passage of time, and the respect that the new PSU governing body has shown for the enormity of the crime, Mr. Emmert’s feelings have most likely mellowed. Why punish a university when they are complying with every aspect of the changes being demanded? Is punishment still necessary when a real transformation has occurred?

It takes a Mensch, a person of character, to make changes, and not stubbornly attempt to defend one’s actions or lack of action. Both Mark Emmert and the university are showing great character. If Joe Paterno were still alive, I believe he would also do everything in his power to do the right thing and make amends. Often, it’s the big plays that we make off the field that are really the important ones.

If you enjoy being Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

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