25 August 2012
A few weeks ago, Penn State hit rock bottom concerning the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. Working off the Feech report, the NCAA brought down the hammer for the school’s part in the scandal. The cover up of such an atrocious act brought them to the brink of the death penalty, but still resulted in some serious sanctions that are just as bad if not worse than that act itself.
Penn State’s sanctions were brutal and swift:
1) A four year bowl ban: this basically means Penn State will not be allowed to participate nor win any championships for the next half a decade. Brutal since bowl games provide great exposure.
2) Reduction of 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year: this means Penn State will not be able to offer scholarships to all the great players they want to keep. This will result in some players opting to play elsewhere.
3) $60 million fine: Nothing will tell you to put the program above the kids than hitting the wallet. Considering the shambles the football program is in, they will be unprofitable until the bowl ban is over because of this.
4) All wins vacated from 1998 – 2011: This is a special hit at former head coach Joe Paterno. The coach with the best winning record in all of college ball is no longer in the top ten. This is the NCAA’s way of telling coaches not to cover up scandals to protect their legacy because if you’re caught your legacy will be taken away.
5) All current PSU players can transfer immediately anywhere: This one will hurt most of all, as any player who wants to transfer to a team that has better immediate prospects, thus upgrading the player’s draft status, will take full advantage of this.
While I am sure there are many who think the NCAA went to far, I’m not in that group. Penn State got exactly what they deserved. Even if the NCAA had hit them with their harshest penalty, I still would have thought Penn State got off lightly based on their conduct and how football was put above the safety and welfare of the kids.
These sanctions have already started to have an effect on Penn State as some players, including star running back Silas Redd, have already transferred to new schools. There’s no telling how many players will run for the hills in the wake of this scandal, but if you were a player at Penn State right now, would you want to stay?
Many PSU fans are going to feel bitter about Redd’s exit, but the fact is they really have nothing to gripe about where Redd is concerned. Silas made a commitment to PSU, enrolled and played the game on the field. Redd held up his end of the bargain but it was PSU that failed to hold up their end, as it was the University that didn’t adhere to the ‘honour and integrity’ that they themselves preach that their students exhibit at all times.
To give people an idea, here’s a great parallel that should explain how bad this really was. Does everyone remember the whole Michael Vick incident, the whole dog fighting scandal? Well, imagine if it was uncovered by the NFL that Vick had been running the dog fights in the Falcon’s shower room and that the head coach of the Falcons knew that the dog fights were happening. Imagine the outrage the fans would feel if they also found out that the owner of the Falcons knew what was going on and didn’t tell anyone about it for 14 years.
Food for thought because that’s exactly how bad it was at Penn State: bad things were happening, this time to kids instead of to dogs and Penn State deserved to be dealt with for hiding it from not only the NCAA but from the police for over a decade. They were not paying off players, or shaving points, a staff member was raping children, and the university thought it was better to protect the program rather than protect the kids assaulted and all the kids that were assaulted after they remained silent. Getting an idea now on why many people wanted Penn State to get the death penalty?
When I read the many comments online concerning the sanctions against Penn State, I am saddened to see so many people are still complaining and are very bitter about them. Truth is, considering the situation and how the university conducted themselves, they could have easily been given the death penalty but managed to barely avoid that. Based on the comments I’ve been reading, I’m confident the situation in Penn State won’t improve until the students and fans of PSU wake up and realize that the football program isn’t and should never be the school’s highest priority. It shouldn’t be for any other University either.