Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Is The Difference Between Vacate And Forfeit To A Lot Of Penn State Football Players

The scandal that ended Penn State university as a football powerhouse, the case of the convicted child molester perv Jerry Sandusky, has claimed a lot more people than those directly or indirectly involved in the scandal.
Say hundreds of Penn State football player who had the misfortune of playing under the late former coach, Joe Paterno.
For you see, as part of the penalty thrown down by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), all the wins that Penn State football had between 1998-2011 have been "vacated".
Vacated? What exactly does that mean?
Well, lets take a look at the dictionary for the meaning as a verb and a noun.
Here is vacate as a verb:

1. to give up possession or occupancy of: to vacate an apartment.
2. to give up or relinquish (an office, position, etc.): to vacate the presidency of a firm.
3. to render inoperative; deprive of validity; void; annul: to vacate a legal judgment.
4. to cause to be empty or unoccupied; make vacant: to vacate one's mind of worries.

Oh, and here is vacate as a verb in legalese: cancel or rescind make void or of no effect; annul
There is no noun for vacate, so lets go to the noun definition of forfeit:
1. a fine; penalty.
2. an act of forfeiting; forfeiture.
3. something to which the right is lost, as for commission of a crime or misdeed, neglect of duty, or violation of a contract.
4. an article deposited in a game because of a mistake and redeemable by a fine or penalty.
5. forfeits, ( used with a singular verb ) a game in which such articles are taken from the players
So, if one looks at the definitions for both words, there is a lot of similarity. The closest vacate comes to is the legal definition A-to cancel or rescind. And for forfeit, the closest to what happened is 5-(used with a singular verb) a game in which such articles are taken from the players.
OK, to a player, what is the difference?
NOTHING! Not one damn thing.
It is semantics. OK, the NCAA is not forcing Penn State to forfeit their wins. That starts getting complicated because a lot of schools would thus have to adjust their records that reflect wins when they were losses. And it would possibly affect some teams that may have been on the bubble of getting possible bowl invites. No, vacating just is cleaner, right?
No, it is not. Because for those who played the games, win or lose, they are all losses now. Maybe not in the records, but they are deemed losses. Especially because those games from 1998-2011 were coached by the focus of evil in the modern world, Joe Paterno.
What the NCAA is really doing is sticking it to a dead guy the only way that they feel they could. But again there is a helluva lot of collateral damage for those players. Players that for once had not one thing to do with this scandal. A real scandal of epic proportions.
You know what else is a scandal? Lashing out at JoPa, as Mr. Paterno was once affectionately called before his unceremonious fall.
Why one would think that JoPa was some Svengali and he was totally in charge of Penn State.
The fact of the matter is that everyone involved played each other and it was to all their benefit to not let this Sandusky scandal, well become one.
Because a successful college program brings big bucks to a university, yes often times the administrators will look the other way when the coaching and athletic bosses try to get a leg up any way possible. And yes, some violate NCAA rules. As long as the money rolls in, everyone is happy.
The fact is ALL involved were short sighted.
The fact that JoPa basically did not want to believe that the man he wanted to be his successor as coach was in fact a horrible perv should have been a sign to school administrators that he may have overstayed his time. But hey, as long as over 110,000 were packing Beaver Stadium and there was money coming in from numerous streams, well they looked the other way.
What should have happened is that JoPa should have been eased out and a successor named around 1999. Then the non-athletic administrators should have turned Mr. Sandusky over to the authorities.
But that did not happen.
And the NCAA wants to make an example out of a dead man, JoPa. And in the process have to twist and turn to explain to the hundreds that played football for the Penn State Nittany Lions that well, their efforts were nice. But we "vacated" your wins. It is the only way to nail that dead guy, JoPa.
Which shows that the NCAA does not really get it.
Seeking vengeance, no matter how appealing it may seem does nothing to address the problem. That way too many people just looked the other way. They all enabled each other.
Again, the players did nothing wrong. They are the ones being punished. Yes, it is beyond punitive. It is petty. It showed how in reality the NCAA was in fact and indeed impotent in meting out a punishment and potential redemption for the future.
To the players that played football for Penn State from 1998-2011, there is no difference between forfeiting all their wins and vacating them. They are losses to them. And a tragedy in an attempt to seek righteous justice for those young boys molested by a man with power, Jerry Sandusky. Remember, Mr. Sandusky is the one that committed the crimes. Even if he was not stopped, he is the one that must pay the most. Not players whose only "crime" was playing for the wrong school, the wrong coach at the wrong time.

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