It is a cliche of therapy that you can't address a problem until you admit it. Some supporters of Pennsylvania State University, addicted to the football program and obsessed with former coach Joe Paterno, don't get the concept.
This month, a Penn State trustee notified the National Collegiate Athletic Association that he and several other board members intend to appeal sanctions that the NCAA imposed on the university and its football program in light of the Jerry Sandusky case.
The former assistant football coach was convicted in June on 45 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 boys. A report by former FBI director Louis Freeh said that Mr. Paterno was part of an active agreement to conceal the crimes, some of which occurred on university property.
Last month, the NCAA ordered Penn State to pay $60 million to fund programs for child-abuse victims, forgo postseason play for four years, give up football scholarships, and forfeit its 111 wins between 1998, when officials became aware of allegations, and 2011. Now the trustee claims that Penn State President Rodney Erickson lacked proper authority when he agreed not to fight the sanctions.
This hair-splitting ignores the fact that the NCAA did not impose the stiffest penalty possible -- suspending the football program entirely. It probably should have done so.
Mr. Freeh's report was professional, thorough, and well-argued. These terrible events were amply documented and treated by Mr. Freeh and the NCAA with the seriousness they deserved.
Not so the lip service paid to the victims in the trustee letter. It acknowledges "reprehensible conduct," but the effect of asking for a reduction of sanctions is to put Penn State back in the football-is-king, business-as-usual mode -- which led to this situation.
Eight former Penn State players and a former assistant coach said they, too, would appeal. They argue they are innocent parties who have suffered an indignity by the removal of their victories.
But not to have not invalidated those wins would have left the late Mr. Paterno as the winningest major college football coach -- its own sort of insult to the victims he failed to help. Such appeals remind others that some Penn Staters don't get it. And the scandal will continue to fester as long as they don't.