Penn State Scandal: If Board Pulls Appeal Then NCAA Wins, but We All Lose

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 10, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Trustees look on during Pennsylvania State University's Board of Trustees meeting in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal on November 11, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State's interim president Rodney Erickson was introduced at the meeting. Head football coach Joe Paterno was fired amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse.   (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Early in the week, it seemed the Board of Trustees at Penn State, at least several members of the Board, was set to endure the stress of pushing their call for appeal to the limit. Certainly, they'd become the next "bad guy" in all of this, but they were going to push for some form of adherence to protocol and look to get to the legal avenue in order to elbow their way into the fray.

Well, it appears they are back to their late July rhetoric, getting back to the "just take it" and make this go away quickly. As Adam Jacobi hits on over at the Big Ten Blog, the Board is getting the hint about moving on to the next phase. He's right. Sunday, the Board of Trustees is meeting to discuss the "consent decree" and as CBS Sports reports, all signs point to them ratifying sanctions and starting the process of "moving on."

In one vein this makes perfect sense. When it comes to just trying to start the healing process, the move to ratify is most certainly the quickest and best route to that process. 

However, if you were interested in seeing someone test the NCAA, and Rodney Erickson's decision to accept the sanctions, then you're a loser here. There will be no push to get into a legal battle of Erickson's right to agree to terms on the Board's behalf. There will be no judge ruling over whether or not the NCAA overstepped their bounds by granting Emmert the power to make a unilateral ruling on the situation. There will be no decision on whether sole reliance on the Freeh Report was acceptable.

Penn State's not the first school to opt for this path. Few schools go the path of resistance when it comes to the NCAA. It isn't in their own, short-term, best interest. In the case of Penn State, to follow through on the appeal and delve into the legal realm would be opening themselves up to criticism for not taking child abuse seriously; or caring too much about football and not enough about the victims.

It wasn't a winning public relations situation to be in.

Now, the NCAA's power reign continues, more unchecked than ever. They're pushing to ratify new rules that will grow their ability to punish schools. They've already shown they can choose to act in the matter they see fit, without an actual investigation or any measure of due process. They've demonstrated an ability to negotiate sanctions to their liking by hanging the death penalty over the member organization. 

It makes sense for Penn State to move on, but it doesn't make it the best move, at least not on the macro level.