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Rose Bowl disciplines Joe Paterno for not talking. Maybe.

April 22, 2009 |  7:00 pm

Joe_paterno_rose_bowl At last January's Rose Bowl game between USC and Penn State, Nittany Lions Coach Joe Paterno refused to give a pre-game interview to ABC or to allow an open post-game locker room. Both actions were required either by contract (the ABC interview) or BCS rules (open locker room).

Boy, are Paterno and Penn State in big trouble! My colleague Chris Dufresne, who is covering the exciting BCS meetings in Pasadena, sent on this statement:

"The Tournament of Roses met and discussed this matter with the members of the Rose Bowl Management Committee (RBMC). Based on these discussions, the RBMC determined that these violations occurred, and then approved appropriate responsive actions. These matters will be addressed by the Tournament of Roses with Penn State. Details of those actions will remain private."

Wow, that's tough. Nearly six months after the rules were broken someone at the Rose Bowl noticed there was no Paterno ABC interview and that hundreds of media members were barred from the Penn State locker room. How much sleuthing did that take?

And as far as we can tell, Penn State got a stern talking to, but any other punishment? That's private. Is Penn State not a public university? Is the Rose Bowl not supported by the public with their ticket buying and television viewing?

What amazes me with coaches is that they insist on players obeying rules. Be on time for meetings, practice, study halls. Some have dress codes or curfews. It's the deal. You play for good old State U's team, you obey. Or you don't play. But then when it comes to the coach obeying a rule he doesn't like (see Bob Knight, many examples), suddenly rules don't exist.

As coaches of young men Paterno and Knight are great in so many ways. But I'd love to sit down with each one day and ask a single question: Why are you above so many rules?

-- Diane Pucin

Illustration: Robert Carter / For The Times