Penn State got the bad news from the NCAA on Monday. Severe penalties as punishment for letting Jerry Sandusky get away with molesting children. Among the sanctions: a four-year bowl ban, loss of scholarships and a $60 million fine. And, most painfully for those who lament the damage being wrought to Joe Paterno’s legacy, the vacating of all wins going back to 1998.
The forfeiture of wins wipes 111 of Paterno’s all-time-record 409 victories off the books, dropping him from first all-time to 12th. This next fact is a mere meaningless footnote to this whole sad saga but it’s worth nothing anyway if only for curiosity’s sake: with those 111 wins from 1998 to 2011 off the books, Joe Paterno’s last recognized victory as a head coach now came on November 22, 1997 against the Wisconsin Badgers at Beaver Stadium (h/t Tom Oates). And a further little twist? The winning quarterback for PSU that day was Mike McQueary. The same Mike McQueary who would go on to become a central figure in the scandal.
A meaningless footnote. But still strange and poignant and possibly ironic if you’re into that sort of thing.