If Any School Deserves the NCAA Death Penalty, It's Got to Be Penn State

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If ever a major collegiate football program deserves the so-called NCAA death penalty, it's got to be Penn State. The myth of Joe Paterno and his ethical football program has been blown out of the water, and the least the NCAA can do is put this program out of the misery of college sports fans.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh released a report on the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State child rape scandal yesterday, and it was pretty damning. He concluded that head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, former school vice president Gary Schultz and former president Graham Spanier knew of Sandusky's pedophilic tendencies as far back as 1998, but did nothing because they were more concerned with protecting the school from bad publicity than they were with protecting children.

The report states the four concealed information from authorities and interfered with legal investigations into Sandusky's activities. Even after Sandusky was allowed to retire by the university, the school still gave him full and complete access to the school facilities where he continued to abuse children. And school employees stated that they failed to report incidents in which children were raped because they feared Paterno would fire them.

Paterno is dead. Sandusky is in jail. Schultz and Spanier no longer have their jobs. Paterno's legacy is destroyed. The school and others are facing civil lawsuits from the children and parents which will likely cost Penn State millions of dollars. But is this enough?

The only appropriate remedy has to be the so-called death penalty, which prohibits a school from competing in a given sport for up to two years. A school that conceals a child rapist in order to protect the reputation of the head coach and the football team needs to be hit with the death penalty. And if the school never recovers from the death penalty, like many have argued that SMU has never recovered from its turn, well, so what?

The NCAA has let numerous schools skate away from the death penalties in recent years. Schools like USC, Alabama, Memphis and Miami have flaunted rule after rule after rule knowing the only punishment they'll get is a probation stripping them of scholarships, or prohibiting them from appearing on television or going to a bowl game. Memphis's run to the NCAA Final Four has been wiped from the books. But has that really stopped any of the abuses of college sports?

Kentucky had no qualms with hiring John Calipari despite the sanctions he caused for Memphis because all that mattered was winning the national title. But would Kentucky be so quick to hire Calipari if Memphis basketball was hit with the death penalty instead? And USC was so scared off by the sanctions it received from the NCAA that it replaced the ethically impaired Pete Carroll with the ethically impaired Lane Kiffin. Does one think UTEP basketball would have hired USC's ethically impaired former men's basketball coach Tim Floyd if USC had been hit with the death penalty?

Should the discussion really be about whether a program can or cannot recover from the death penalty anyway? Shouldn't the discussion be "If this doesn't deserve it, then what does?"

Penn State thought its football program was more important than reporting a child rapist. Is this a football program that deserves to exist? And if so, then how is this not worse than what SMU did? SMU just paid players to play college football. They didn't allow a pedophile to roam the sidelines.

But what about the current players? Do they deserve to be punished? Isn't that what Penn State's been arguing since they learned about Sandusky in 1998? They covered up everything for the good of the football program, and the good of the program meant that nothing would happen to the football program so that players could keep playing. The school actively sought to cover this up since 1998, saying in 2001 that this was a problem that could be "assessed down the road."

Is concern about the players really where the concern should be placed? If Penn State gets the death penalty, players can transfer to other schools. They can also stay at Penn State and be students. Shouldn't the concern be with the children who were raped and molested by Jerry Sandusky because Penn State and the football program thought their reputation was more important?

SMU got the death penalty for paying football players. Penn State's actions are far, far worse than anything SMU did. If ever a school deserves to be hit with it, if ever a school allowed a football program to run rampant, if ever a football program was corrupt and evil, it's the Penn State football program. And if Penn State never recovers from the death penalty, like SMU has never supposedly recovered, is that really a bad thing?


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12 comments
Crucifythem
Crucifythem

"Punishing Penn State to this level will insure that this does not happen ever again" These "senior administrators" YOU say represent the university are going to prison...  They sure the **** don't represent me, the town, the school, the coaches, the players, etc.  These INDIVIDUALS are going to jail.  THAT will make sure this doesn't happen again.  Punish the innocent to exact revenge on the guilty.... you don't even earn an insult.  It would be wasted on you.  

Crucifyhim
Crucifyhim

Just thought I'd stop by to Phil Sheridan's comments re: Penn State reflect a possible borderline intellect disorder.  Those responsible for the CRIMES (see: "not NCAA violations") will be held accountable in CRIMINAL and CIVIL courts (and possibly even by St. Peter).  To punish the new coaches, the town, the team, the university, former players, alumni, the fans, etc. for the sinful and illegal actions of a handful of people in a matter unrelated to football (aside from motives... and no... you're wrong) = (insert whatever degrading adjective you want that would describe "really stupid"... but more clever, please).  No person affiliated with operating or supporting the university as it moves forward thinks that the actions (and inactions) were acceptable.  I honestly haven't found a Penn State fan that doesn't entirely condemn them.  So what would NCAA activity do to help the process of healing and moving forward?  By the same principal, my daughter would be pretty mad at me if I grounded her for something that her brother did... and consequently, that would make me a moron.  But... you have plenty of support out there for the death penalty by other mouth breathers who can't get past the first line mentioning child molestation.  They just want to be angry and sound angry... and prove they hate child molestation more than the next guy without stressing their brain any further... possibly to avoid overheating or maybe to avoid exposing that there's just a gerbil in there running on a wheel... and it looks exhausted.  No one supports what happened, no one supports what they did.... everyone would like to kick ‘em in the nuts… but you can't find them... you'll never find them... because you're looking at Penn State trying to find someone to punish.  You can go to their old office... you can check near the water fountain, you can try to reach their secretary.... you can send letter after angry letter to Penn State all you want.  No one showed up for work today on account of them already being FIRED.  Contact their LAWYERS... cause they're going to PRISON.  Hell… for one of them you’ll need a séance… you’ll need to pay some fraudulent nut-job to try to contact Joe's restless spirit after the stress of this incident likely promoted and prompted cancer to kill him… but really… you’re probably right… I doubt anyone has learned the lesson from this tragedy yet…. I'm sure that punishing the innocent will do a fantastic job of exacting revenge on the guilty…. Jackass.

Doctadro
Doctadro

It was only ONE rogue criminal booster at Miami. It was only ONE Tatoo parlor at OSU. ONE player at USC. ONE agent at UNC. ONE mentor at Oregon. Where were all the PSU fans when those programs got hit saying "oh don't punish the programs for the actions of a few".

Andrew Ferraro
Andrew Ferraro

Like just about everyone else, agree fully. SMU vs. Penn State is not even a game when you compare "crimes" ... Make them rebuild and do it the hard way.

Greg P.
Greg P.

"Punishing Penn State to this level will insure that this does not happen ever again." Nothing will ever guarantee that this will never happen again. I remember a number of years ago, the same thing was said about the priests and the Catholic church. When the church had to pay something like $600 million in selltements, people said that it would teach people a lesson and it would never happen again. Wrong. As long as their is people in a position of unlimited power and there is hundreds of millions of dollars involved, there is the change that it (or any other crime and cover up) could happen. Naturally, we would like to think that the Death Penalty would insure it, but it can't be guaranteed.

Oklahoma Sooner Fan
Oklahoma Sooner Fan

It was not a mere "high school teacher" as you put it. The more appropriate analogy would be, “what if you found out that the principal, athletic director and superintendent of schools were sleeping with your child?” And then hid this from the Board of Education?   The appropriate "fix" is the NCAA death penalty, followed by twelve years' probation.

Oklahoma Sooner Fan
Oklahoma Sooner Fan

Greg, The people who did this were in senior management at Penn State. Yes, the "university" did this. This mess has been going on for what, fourteen years now? The appropriate penalty needs to be the NCAA death penalty for two years, followed by twelve years' probation, with no football scholarships, bowl appearances, or television. Punishing Penn State to this level will insure that this does not happen ever again.

TexBs
TexBs

You're all a bunch of over reacting fools who have been distracted by the media hype.  Put anyone who did not report what they knew to the proper authorities in jail. This is not a reason to kill the school's athletic program.   Let's say a history teacher at your kids high school sleeps with a student. (It's been known to happen.) Would you shut the whole history department down? Or the school? No, you would fix the problem and move on.

Mphayes11
Mphayes11

Thanks for the article. I agree that the systematic breakdown of leadership at PSU is the very reason why the Death Penalty needs to be invoked. Maybe then, and only then, the university will never put football above an innocent child again. That's what needs to happen here. Yes the punishment is harsh or it wouldn't be punishment.  How harsh is it to be one of the victims? If the PSU supporters were as adament in protecting the children as they are protecting that football program, this would have been taken care of in 1998. It would have been ugly, but it would have saved so many others. What about the dead DA???? Anyone care about him? His family? Oh it had nothing to do with PSU, right? Can't prove it! Can't prove anything the guy vanished. How are his kids coping? Think they are PSU fans?

Greg P.
Greg P.

"Penn State thought its football program was more important than reporting a child rapist." Penn State did not do this. A half dozen people who were in charge of the university did this. This whole debacle is NOT what Penn State is about. These men are gone and a new regime is in place. You are profiling an entire university of 45,000 students with 25 satellite campuses by the actions of these few individuals. You go on to say: "Shouldn't the concern be with the children who were raped and molested by Jerry Sandusky because Penn State and the football program thought their reputation was more important?" Absolutely. They why write this article? Write an article on the children, their families, how they are coping with this whole mess, how to stop this from happening again or something constructive instead of destructive. Awareness and education - that's needs to be the focus.

Jb
Jb

so have about 500 other publications. Have your listened to sports talk radio lately? Same thing...

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