Penn State got quite the hammer when the NCAA announced the sanctions for the school after ugly findings in regards to the school covering up Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse for thirteen years.
To many, the way the NCAA came down on PSU is harsh and severe but there really was no other way for the NCAA to hand punishment to the school.
For thirteen years, Penn State knew of the happenings with Sandusky and the children he abused. For all those years, they did as little as possible to make sure nothing was made of the abuse because the school wanted to protect its football program and protect the legacy of the late Joe Paterno. Now that we know what happened and Penn State did and didn’t do, how can we assume the NCAA was going to be light and tedious in punishing the school?
Whether the NCAA should have interfered at all is an argument to have if the NCAA didn’t have such a weird history of punishing student-athletes for something as trivial as taking money in order to feed their families, but the fact they do have such history made their involvement in the worst scandal in American sports history an inevitability.
There was no RIGHT way for the way the NCAA handled this situation. Had they sat on their hands, they would have further validated the notion that they only involve themselves in the matters of punishing student-athletes while taking a step back when it comes to coaches and front offices. The fact they came down so harshly on Penn State has many still feeling as if they handled it wrong.
What Penn State got in losing $60 million in fines, four years of no bowl games, conference title games and losing scholarships to go with their soiled reputation is a reality check.
The punishment isn’t what should matter in the aftermath of all that has taken place in the last ten months, it’s the fact that Penn State’s once ever so strong pride of not having an NCAA violation on its record officially means nothing.
People send their children to school for their children to learn from leaders, what leader at Penn State has proven worthy of being the exception to the rule that now stands at Penn State? From top to bottom, the administration failed to stop a man who raped children on campus in hotels the night before bowl games with the only thing they did to stop him being telling him to stop doing it on the campus.
In the thirteen years that it took for everything to come to light, the school did nothing but look to sweep the scandal under the rug because Penn State was winning games. The football-first culture that overtook Penn State clouded the judgment of so many administrators that it’s fair to question if they’re leading the students at the institution or are going along for the right with the same young minds they’re supposed to be shaping.
The NCAA’s involvement in this scandal is also complicated by the fact that this is a situation that is the first of its kind.
There isn’t a precedent to follow, there is no rulebook to follow to know how to punish a school that covered up a child rapist for thirteen years.
If the punishment the NCAA handed down should do anything, it should give perspective on what’s really important.
For so long, people have harped on the fact that rules are rules, that student-athletes shouldn’t take benefits for playing because it’s in the rulebook. Selling jerseys and merchandise is against the rules so guys were to be suspended for simply doing what the NCAA already did, make a quick buck off of them. How much do the rules matter now?
No rules were broken, lives were shattered. Regardless of the petty sanctions that the NCAA brought about with student-athletes making a quick buck, the NCAA got it right this time.