Ray Ratto

NCAA piles on the non-guilty


NCAA piles on the non-guilty

Well, that was quite a hunk of flesh the NCAA took out of Penn State. More than a pound, Id say.Then again, it took it from the people who had the least to do with the crimes of Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno or the other conspirators. The current and future players and coaches at Penn State. Thats how the NCAA defines justice shooting the survivors and onlookers.Its why all forms of NCAA justice arent really justice at all, but a feel-good back-scratch that fools some people into thinking the organization is really on top of its game.What the NCAA did have the power to do effectively, it did. The 60 million fine is what the NCAA understands and operates in pursuit of money. Of course, that money hasnt been earmarked for Sanduskys actual victims, and neither has the 13 million in bowl game shares the Big 10 is withholding from the school. Those are going to nebulous other places, stated in the one press conference as child abuse centers, and in the other to merely charities.RELATED: Ratto -- NCAA's Penn State fine misguided
But it also made clear to Bill OBrien, the current coach, and the present team that they screwed up by being the folks on site when the hammer came down. They sent their usual message, too Were gonna get someone for this, damn it, and youre the ones we can see in front of us.It is remarkable, and typically disturbing, that the NCAA chose to make this a football problem rather than an administrative one, because the NCAA is filled with administrators. Graham Spanier, the shamed former president at Penn State, was one of theirs in fact, one of the NCAAs poster children on how to do it right. Yeah, good get there, kids.In fact, and weve said it before, this was an administrative failure. An administrators crime, in fact. Joe Paterno was the football coach, but he wasnt coaching when he was in the room with Spanier and Tim Curley and Gary Schultz devising ways to keep Sanduskys terrors unpunished and out of public view. He was Spanier and Curley and Schultz an administrator.And the NCAA, which cannot punish them anyway, held a press conference in which president Mark Emmert didnt even mention their names. He got to Paterno when asked specifically about Paterno, but the other three the ones who share Paternos guilt if not his high profile they didnt get referenced.RELATED: Ratto -- Penn State and 'setting the record straight'
So Emmert did what the NCAA can do and does do pile on the non-guilty. The money taken is right up their street, though not aimed at the most deserving. The punishment to the football program is a cultural statement he will not make at all the other places where the athletic department dominates all other forms of campus life. They need the money that culture generates, so raging against it is one more practical joke they are so good at playing.What should Emmert and his happy pals have done, then? Take the money. Fine. Its what theyre good at. But pretending to be part of the solution when they benefit so greatly from the actual problem is another thing theyre good at hypocrisy.What the NCAA did was see a public relations nightmare, and react by stamping its foot on those who didnt do anything wrong. That would make three things they have down pat I guess that makes it good day, then.
RELATED: Ratto -- Enough about Joe Paterno's statue
But when Mark Emmert cant even choke out the names of the other three men who helped make this nightmare bloom in his highest expression of public indignation, you know he has remembered who he is, and how the butter gets to his bread. He got to put the boot into the blameless, and look bold and decisive doing it. That definitely makes it a good day -- by NCAA standards.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in


In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

Andre Ward finally did what he said he would do – retire before the sport of boxing retired him.

Now we’ll see if boxing intends to leave him be.

Ward announced his retirement via Twitter Thursday morning, seemingly ending the career of one of the world’s greatest fighters in the elusive pound-for-pound category. He now plans to get into media, which is a battle of its own (ask Teddy Atlas when he talks with Stephen A. Smith how rewarding that can be).

But there’s that word “seemingly.” Boxers have a greater incidence of unretirement than any other sport because they miss what they do, they are typically surrounded by people who like the paydays the boxer’s fights provide, the unpaid tax debts some incur never go away, and sometimes they just don’t have anything better to do.

And then one day they find out they can’t do anything at all because of the punishments that come with violent sport, and then they become either tragedies or cautionary tales. Almost nobody gets to 95 like Jake LaMotta did.

Ward has said repeatedly that would never happen to him, that he was in control of his destiny and would remain so. And you want to believe him, because he would be that rarest of boxing stories – the unmitigated success.

It will be his toughest fight, however, far tougher than Sergei Kovalev. Boxing has this weird thrall upon its practitioners that can prove irresistible, if not outright necessary, and Ward will have to train as hard to repel its call as he did when he was neck-deep in it. It will not be easy, and he will have days when he desperately wants back in.

But retired fighters typically make poor unretired fighters, and the more one unretires, the worse the future becomes. So Andre Ward has to win this one more than any other fight.

And maybe it will be an easy victory for him – but it is a victory that will have to be achieved every day, almost like fighting alcoholism. Boxing is bad for you, and though it has been good for Andre Ward (as far as anyone knows), being an ex-boxer will be even better. He has done what needs to be done, and now he needs to do something else, one that doesn’t require putting his body and brain at risk for our amusement.

If this can be done, Andre Ward can achieve it. But neither he nor anyone else should think it will be any easier than understanding an Adalaide Byrd scorecard. Post-boxing will be difficult and rewarding business. All he has to do is master it every day for the rest of his life.

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

For the record, and just so you can’t say you weren’t told, these are the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the 50 backups. Draw your own conclusions.

(Author’s note: We list these only because Joe Webb was just signed by the Buffalo Bills, whose starter and first backup, Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates, are still in the concussion protocol).


DENVER: Trevor Siemian (Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler)

KANSAS CITY: Alex Smith (Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray)

LOS ANGELES: Philip Rivers (Cardale Jones)

OAKLAND: Derek Carr (E.J. Manuel, Connor Cook)


BALTIMORE: Joe Flacco (Ryan Mallett)

CINCINNATI: Andy Dalton (AJ McCarron)

CLEVELAND: DeShone Kizer (Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Josh Woodrum)

PITTSBURGH: Ben Roethlisberger (Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs)


HOUSTON: Tom Savage (DeShaun Watson)

INDIANAPOLIS: Scott Tolzien (Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett)

JACKSONVILLE: Chad Henne (Blake Bortles)

TENNESSEE: Marcus Mariota (Matt Cassel)


BUFFALO: Nathan Peterman (Taylor, Yates, Webb)

MIAMI: Jay Cutler (Matt Moore, David Fales)

NEW ENGLAND: Tom Brady (Jimmy Garoppolo)

NEW YORK: Josh McCown (Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg)


ARIZONA: Carson Palmer (Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert)

LOS ANGELES: Jared Goff (Sean Mannion)

SAN FRANCISCO: Brian Hoyer (C.J. Beathard)

SEATTLE: Russell Wilson (Austin Davis)


CHICAGO: Mike Glennon (Mitchell Trubisky, Mark Sanchez)

DETROIT: Matthews Stafford (Jack Rudock)

GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers (Brett Hundley)

MINNESOTA: Sam Bradford (Case Keenum)


ATLANTA: Matt Ryan (Matt Schaub)

CAROLINA: Cam Newton (Derek Anderson, Brad Kaaya)

NEW ORLEANS: Drew Brees (Chase Daniel, Taysom Hill)

TAMPA BAY: Jameis Winston (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin)


DALLAS: Dak Prescott (Cooper Rush)

NEW YORK: Eli Manning (Geno Smith, Davis Webb)

PHILADELPHIA: Carson Wentz (Nick Foles)

WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins (Colt McCoy)

Again, draw your own conclusions. I know I’ve drawn mine.