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From the mailbag: Joe Paterno, NBA talks, a personal foul, Willie Lyles, Colts/Luck and a Stanford-UO prediction

From the mailbag:

• Regarding the scandal at Penn State: there is a mandatory reporting law in Oregon, which I assume is consistent across the nation. To wit:

If a teacher (or any mandatory reporter, which includes educators, medical professionals, clergy and others) suspects abuse of a minor, sexual or otherwise, he/she is required to report it. If he tells his principal and the principal does not report it, he/she is still liable. In other words, telling one's superiors does not relieve teachers of a mandatory reporting obligation. In those cases, they must verify the superior followed through.

All of which is to suggest that Joe Paterno's failure to make sure his superiors reported Jerry Sandusky's behavior is more than an ethical lapse. In Oregon, he would be legally liable for his obvious failure to make sure the suspected abuse was reported.

It would be interesting to know if Pennsylvania's law is consistent with Oregon's in this regard. That being said, it would be a shame to see Paterno's career end, just when he was getting started.

Mark Downing

Happy Valley

(Comment: Says Rich Long, executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association: 'Pennsylvania law requires a staff member of an institution who suspects abuse to report the information to the person in charge of the institution or his designated agent. The person in charge or the designated agent is legally obligated to report to child protective services. (Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and vice president/finance Gary Schultz) have been charged with failure to report in accordance with this provision. Prior to 2006, failure to make the report constituted a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in jail.'

(But what about football coach Joe Paterno, who reported the abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to Curley and Schultz, but did not follow up? 'That's not clear to me,' Long says. 'It sounds like Oregon has a very strong law, perhaps stronger than what Pennsylvania has, but I would defer to the state attorney general office. That's their case.'

(On Thursday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno fulfilled his legal reporting obligation and is not a target of the continuing state grand jury investigation.)

• It seems sad to me the NBA players, who make good money playing basketball, and the owners can't come up with a compromise. Why can't they think of the lowly fans who enjoy watching their games? They don't have a lot of money. Do they think of the restaurants, bars and hotels who supply services?

Times are tough, but they don't have to make it tougher by ruining the season. Thanks for letting me get my feelings out.

Virginia Fairchild

Portland

(Comment: You took the words right out of my mouth. At least the negotiations are continuing as this is posted.)

• After reading your analysis of the OSU-Stanford game, I find it hard to understand how you missed one of the most blatant hits in that game. I am a long-time Beavers fan of some 50-plus years, but that hit saddens and sickens me. Cameron Collins intentionally hit Andrew Luck up under his chin with the top of his helmet. It drew a 15-yard personal foul, but deserved much more. That hit should have been ruled as a deliberate attempt to cause injury and therefore been a flagrant foul which includes an immediate ejection. I have written Larry Scott, the commissioner of the Pac-12, and ask that his staff review the game film.

'I cannot be the only one who saw that hit and has taken the time to act on it. How any of you writers who claim to watch these games and report to the public didn't see that is unbelievable. Had that hit caused a possible broken jaw, think what it would have done to Stanford's hope for a Pac-12 and national title. It most surely would have ended his playing career at Stanford and maybe his shot at any postseason game. As a father of a QB who was twice sent to the ER by late hits, I guess I'm a little more sensitive to the issue than some who disagree with my analysis of that situation.

'I understand players becoming frustrated during a game, but that action was way out of line with any incidental contact or a late hit. If that is what passes for Beaver football, than you can count me out. Even the analyst of the television broadcast, Brock Huard, made the comment that it was a cheap hit! So if you think I'm just an over-reactionary on a solo mission, give him a call and see what he says.

Bert Loyd

Tahlequah, Okla.

(Comment: I still haven't seen the hit. OSU coach Mike Riley told me the personal foul was warranted but wasn't a cheap shot, that it wasn't intentional and deserves no further sanctions. Collins, recipient of OSU's Centennial and Presidential Awards for academics, is a candidate for the national Lott Trophy, presented annually to a player who best displays team leadership, academic achievements and community involvement. He is one of the most well-spoken and respected Beavers. I can't imagine he would deliberately try to hurt Luck.)

• Is it a coincidence that Oregon released its documents pertaining to the NCAA investigation on the Willie Lyles case on the same day as news of the Penn State scandal broke?

Mike Gorman

Beaverton

(Comment: Probably as much a coincidence as it was back on Sept. 17, when the school revealed the NCAA had sent it a letter of inquiry regarding the Lyles investigation the morning of the UO-Missouri State game. All the better to overshadow the amount of attention the Lyles story would receive.)

• If you are the Indianapolis Colts, do you tank the rest of the games so you can draft Andrew Luck? And then, do you trade Peyton Manning?

Larry Kelly

Portland

(Comment: No team should intentionally lose games - or not try its best to win them - in order to finish last in the standings and gain the No. 1 selection in the draft. If the Colts end up with the worst record, it's a no-brainer to take Luck. If money were no object, the Colts should take the Stanford standout and have Manning tutor him for a year or two.

(Money is an object, though, and the Colts must decide whether or not to keep Manning and pay him $28 million next season, trade him or even cut him, which would leave them owing him nothing. I have great respect for Manning, but he is 35 and has had three neck surgeries in the last two years. Luck could be your quarterback for the next 15 years. You take Luck, get what you can for Manning and move on.)

• Hey big-shot sports columnist, any predictions on the Oregon-Stanford game? I'm betting Stanford by 14, but I hope I'm wrong.

Julie Dixon

Newport Beach, Calif.

(Comment: The spread is Stanford by 3 1/2. Since the homefield advantage is worth about five points, oddsmakers must consider Oregon the better team. It's a matchup between the Ducks' speed and the Cardinal's might. If Darron Thomas is at his best, Oregon can win. But Andrew Luck seems pretty good when the pressure is on. I'm picking the Cardinal 35-30 - meaning I'm thinking the over/under line of 66 is just about right.)