WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Do the NCAA sanctions meet the criteria for holding Penn State University accountable for the failure in leadership of those in power at the school and in the football program?
The NCAA levied sanctions against the football program which fell short of the dreaded “Death Penalty” which would have shut down the sport completely. The sanctions include loss of 20 scholarships each of the next four of years; a 60 million dollar fine; post season ban on bowl games and sharing an estimated 13 million of revenue. It also vacated 112 Penn State victories along with Joe Paterno’s loss of 111 wins.
Some might say the sanctions don’t go far enough, and some are thinking it was too much and affects the players and program that had little if anything to do with the Sandusky scandal. Does one or two rotten apples spoil the whole crate?
After thorough investigation it appears there was a definite cover up of Sandusky’s actions by many persons in the hierarchy of the university. Those who knew about the scandal and did nothing to expose it are almost as guilty as Sandusky.
The penalty effectively penalizes student athletes who had nothing to do with the sins of a former coach. The NCAA gave their approval for any players who wished to transfer to another school to do so without having to sit out a season before being able to play.
The first indication of wrong doing came in 1994 when a boy first reported his abuse by Sandusky. It was four years later when another victim reported being inappropriately touched while showering with Sandusky. Sandusky retired from coaching in 1999.
Several other incidents were reported following that. The charges were dropped against Sandusky, when the head of the campus police told the District attorney to close the case. In 2002 a graduate assistant reported seeing Sandusky having inappropriate contact with a young boy. That is when Joe Paterno, and Athletic director Tim Curley found out about it. It wasn’t until 2009 that charges were filed and a grand jury investigation began.
Of course the rest is history, Sandusky was convicted of several counts of abuse and sent to prison. An ailing Joe Pa succumbed to the cancer he was battling. In November of 2011 Paterno was fired and a stellar career came to an end. Paterno said with the reflection of hind sight, “I wish I had done more.”
Of course the real tragedy of the whole thing is the victims of Sandusky. Their lives were changed for ever. Also it is not known whether or not there were more victims who have not come forward. It is not uncommon for young people that were sexually abused to block out those events.
The best thing to come out of this is the 60 million fine is to be used for an endowment for external programs to prevent childhood sexual abuse or to assist victims. But it may not be used to fund such programs at Penn State. I find this a bit odd that the NCAA would not support using some of the fine to fund child sexual abuse programs at Penn State. At least require Penn State to put some of these programs in effect within the university, regardless of who pays for it.
By the way 60 million dollars is the equivalent of about one year of revenue from the football program.
The sanctions will probably not kill the program but it will certainly put it on life support for some time to come. However it sends a strong message to other NCAA schools that it will not look the other way when something like this happens. Football and any other sport should never be put ahead of protecting our children.
Have a great week and do good!
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