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The Stack is back on this Tuesday with a few things to talk about.  Penalties have been brought to Penn State, training camps are opening up, and a few other headlines as well so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, July, 24:

Hammer comes down on Penn State

The annoucement came shortly after 9 AM ET Monday and NCAA President Mark Emmert brought the news that Penn State students, fans, alumni and everyone feared.  The punishments include:

  • $60 million fine
  • Four-year postseason ban
  • Loss of 20 total scholarships for a four-year period
  • Five year probation for athletic department
  • Vacate all wins from 1998 meaing Joe Paterno is now not the winningest coach in college football history.  Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is.  Paterno drops from 409 career wins to 298, good for 12th most all time.

Yeah, those are the penalties levied against the football program and the university.  These are penalties the likes which we have never seen before.  For the most part, Dr. Emmert and the NCAA got it right. 

The fine is equivalent to what the football program would make in one year.  Alright, that's fine with me. 

A four-year postseason ban?  As I said yesterday, I wanted at least five years if not ten, but I suppose four is a little more reasonable.  And allowing the players to transfer immediately and keep their eligibility is a good thing.  Congrats to the NCAA for making the smart choice on that one. 

Losing twenty total scholarships per year for four years?  That's fine.  I would have gone for half, but again, was probably being a little over zealous.  This seems like a far more reasonable number though they could have gone slightly higher to 25 or 30. 

Probation for the athletic department seems fair. 

Vacating all wins from 1998-2012, including six bowl wins and two conference championships?  This one I don't get.  Yes, the football program did things that no program or university should ever do.  They turned a blind eye to children getting raped by a very sick man and former Penn State coach.  Was the football program a little out of control and did Paterno have a little too much power?  Perhaps.  But, how did what was going on off the field have anything to do with what the players did on the field?  The players had nothing to do with it.  They don't today.  Excluding his relationship with former players, Joe Paterno's moral fiber off the field holds little relevance to the fact that he was a great coach and did not cheat with his football program.  This isn't an SMU like deal where players were getting paid.  The players were not involved.  Paterno was involved in that he cheated many young boys out of a innocent childhood while trying to protect his assistant and friend Jerry Sandusky and the image of the football program and the university.  So I'm trying to understand why vacating the wins was such a necessity.  I don't think it was.  I will always remember Joe Paterno as the winningest coach in college football history, unless someone passes him.  I don't see that happening anytime soon.  This decision by the NCAA is a real head-scratcher.

The one penalty that I wish the NCAA would have handed down that they did not is to take Penn State off national television for at least one year, maybe two.  No ESPN, ABC Fox Sports, nothing.  The Big Ten Network can televise six of their games the first year and all of their games the second year, but since the BTN isn't a common household channel, that's not going to help too much.  Natinoal television will continue to give the program exposure, whether positive or negative.  You might say that some people won't watch Penn State if they're on ESPN because of the scandal and that is fine, but I think more people will just watch them if they're on because it's college football.  The NCAA needed to take them off the airwaves for a year and failed to do so.  If they don't receive any television revenue, then that's ok.  But I would have liked to see both happen. 

Your thoughts?  Did the NCAA get it right?

I know plenty of students, faculty, former players disagree with the NCAA's ruling, but tough luck.  Just because you don't want to remember Joe Paterno and think of him as a man who would turn a blind eye to such a horrible act does not mean that the univeristy shouldn't pay a steep price for what they did to cover this up.  Unfortunately, people who had nothing to do with it will be affected.  Such is life.  Be happy the penalties weren't worse.

And if I hear another word from the Paterno family, I'm going to flip.  Every decision that criticizes Paterno, you have a response for, saying that it isn't true.  You wanted the truth, the facts to come out.  Deal with it and the consequences of the decision(s) that your father, husband, friend, decided to cover up and do nothing about.

 

Ichiro traded to the Yankees

For twelve years, the only jersey Ichiro Suzuki ever donned was a Seattle Mariners one.  That has now changed with the Mariners trading the 10-time all-star to the New York Yankees for a couple of pitching prospects.  While he hasn't put up fantastic numbers in recent years, Ichiro is still a player who can slap one into the outfield and he can run the bases.  He will improve the Yankees in that regard, giving them speed on the bases.  He also gives them a good glove in the outfield.  Again, he's not the same player that he used to be, but on a new team and in a pennant race, Ichiro will show flashes of brillaince in pinstripes.

Other trade news in baseball includes the Detroit Tigers getting second baseman Omar Infante and pitcher Anibal Sanchez from Miami for three players including a couple of minor league players.  The Tigers are in it to win it this year and are hoping this move gets them to the top of the AL Central and makes them a dangerous team come October.  For the Marlins, this was a year of promise.  A new ballpark, new logo, new name, new manager and new expectations have brought about a disappointing year for the Marlins.  Maybe next year.

And the Atlanta Braves are closing in on a deal to acquire pitcher Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs.  This would help the Braves push their way for the NL East title or a wild card birth.  The NL has a lot of teams fighting for wild card position.

 

Several NFL first rounders sign

Training camps are nearing and some first round picks are making sure that they get to camp on time.  The players that sign include:

  • Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (#3 overall) signed a 4-year $20.4 million deal, all guaranteed.
  • Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (#6 overall) signed a 4-year $16.26 million deal, all guaranteed.
  • Detroit Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff (#23 overall) signed a 4-year $7.993 million deal.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro (#24 overall) signed a 4-year $7.814 million deal.

Expect more signings today.

Also one other big note to pass along from yesterday and that is that the Lions released troubled cornerback Aaron Berry after another incident over the weekend.  Berry was expected to start in the Lions thin secondary, but his off-the-field behavior was not worth the roster spot.  Good move by the Lions.

Arizona Cardinals open training camp

The Arizona Cardinals have embarked on their 2012-13 NFL season, starting training camp today at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.  The Cardinals 2011-12 season was disappointing.  They had several key injuries including rookie running back Ryan Williams who is expected to contribute significantly this season.  Of course the division is a little more difficult with the San Francisco 49ers expected to have another strong year and Jeff Fisher taking over in St. Louis.  

Position battle to watch: Quarterback.  The Cardinals paid big money to Kevin Kolb and Kolb did not deliver last  year.  Sure he was injured as well, but the Cardinals need him to be the player they gave up so much for.  John Skelton did a admirable job last year and the fans like him.  Ken Whisenhunt needs both of these guys to step up.

Storyline 1: The quarterback battle.  How these two look and push each other will be a forecast for Arizona's season this year.

Storyline 2: Which wide receivers will step up?  Apart from Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals wide receivers aren't great.  Rookie Michael Floyd is a big upgrade, but how much can you expect from the rookie right away?  The Cardinals training camp is going to be an interesting one.

 

New Orleans Saints begin training camp

Has any team ever had a more tumultious offseason than the Saints this year?  And it wasn't about players getting arrested.  We're not here to talk about the bounty scandal, but it is a cloud that will hang over this season.  Thank goodness the Saints begin training camp in Metairie, Louisiana to gve themselves and their fans a break.  The season ended with much disappointment with the loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoffs.  This year?  It's anyone's guess.

Position battle to watch: Running back.  The Saints enjoy a running back by committee system and it works.  Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram compliment each other nicely.  But the Saints didn't draft Ingram to be part of the mix.  A foot injury slowed him down.  Will he take over in training camp, making a fellow running back a casualty?

Storyline 1: How does the coaching staff come together with the loss of Sean Payton?  Seriously, who is the leader?  Joe Vitt has been suspended for the first six games.  The Saints are going to rely on Drew Brees more than they ever have before.  He has got to be the coach on the field and make his presence even more known on the sidelines.

Storyline 2: Who's going to take the lead on defense?  Jonathan Vilma being suspended the entire year is a problem.  The Saints need someone on that defensive staff to take control. Will Smith, Jabari Greer, Roman Harper...I'm looking at you guys.

Oh by the way, the Cardinals and the Saints meet in the Hall-of-Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, Sunday, August 5 at 8:00 PM ET on the NFL Network.

More team previews in the next few days.

 

One more note to pass along from the NHL.  The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for for forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, defensive prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick in 2013.  This gives the Rangers another offensive weapon and make them still the team to beat in the eastern conference.  For the Blue Jackets, somehow they have got to try to get a winning team together to make it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.  Good luck with that.

 

Coming up Wednesday: Reaction to top stories in sports plus more training camp previews.

Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.

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