The Death Penalty for Penn State Football
It’s embarrassing to tag this with a “Sports” category as this really isn’t a sports issue. It’s a human decency issue. When you turn a blind eye to child rape in order to protect a football program and its coach, that’s just disgusting.
Yesterday, a report commissioned by Penn State University and completed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, was released and it implicated officials at all levels of the university as being complicit. From the University president to the athletic director even down to head coach Joe Paterno. They were all aware of former coach Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation actions. And they did nothing about it. Even worse, they acknowledged in writing, via email that they were putting the university at risk by not reporting the allegations. So they knowingly violated the law and even worse, violated the children a second time who had been raped by not reporting this. By not reporting the allegations to the authorities, it led to additional children being raped by Sandusky. These were acts that definitely could have been prevented if he had already been put in a cell to rot for decades.
In my opinion, the NCAA should institute its Death Penalty on Penn State football. Basically what this means is the school eliminates the sport for a period determined by the NCAA. Once the time is up, they can start over.
The NCAA has various levels of penalties they can apply to the program, from the loss of scholarships and fines, putting the program on probation, or all the way to the total elimination of the sport. The death penalty is reserved for instances where there is a total “lack of institutional control.” Sometimes you get a rogue coach that gets out of control. They have lesser penalties for that sort of thing, especially when the athletic department themselves step in and institute a punishment. Sometimes it is the whole athletic department that is out of control. That’s where the university can step in and clean it up, along with the NCAA. Then you have the level where the entire institution has lost their way, from top to bottom. That is the case here with Penn State. This is the situation that the death penalty was created for.
If the NCAA applies the death penalty to Penn State football, one of the crown jewels in college sports, it will send a message to every college president that no one is sacred, no one will be spared if your athletics program is out of control. It’s a huge understatement to say that allegations like child molestation are serious and are far more important than any game or program. The entire Penn State University administration failed to realize this and now they need to pay the price. I hope the NCAA does the right thing.
Addendum: For those wondering why there’s no mention of criminal charges in this post, it is because I took that as a given. Jerry Sandusky was convicted of charges. Joe Paterno is dead, and I’m not aware of any other PSU officials facing charges. But of course anyone involved who broke a law should be charged.
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