The Wounded Lion
Fitting The Crime?
I live in the shadow of "Happy Valley" as it was called up until a few months ago. State College and Penn State University seemed to many like a college football version of Shangri-La. Then, slowly, tales of abuse began to surface. A beloved, if not venerated, coach was fired and later died. The trial would prove the stories true, but the worst was yet to come.
A report showed a cover up that reached into the very heart of the Football program, and the University. Monday, the NCAA imposed sanctions on the Penn State Football Program that were, to say the least, crippling.
The situation the NCAA found itself in was likely out of its scope. The organization is usually concerned with academics, recruiting, and maintaining what is seen by many as an illusion of amateurism. To deal with a cover up of sexual abuse left the organization in a quandary.
The major part of the sanctions, to me was the most appropriate, The victories won from 1994 to 2011 were wiped away. Since it could be argued that the reason for the cover-up of the abuse was to protect the program and the legacy of Joe Paterno. The fine, supposedly based on what the program generates in one year, may have been a case of punishing the current players for the sins of the past. A better sanction would have been to force the university to pay back what had been paid out from the bowl games it had played in during the time the abuses occurred.
The post-season and bowl bans, while harsh, are essentially part of the standard punishment for any program that runs afoul of the NCAA.
The loss of scholarships seems to be more a way to keep the program from recovering for a long, long time. But what may be even more perplexing may be the fact that the NCAA is allowing players to transfer without penalty. What seemed like a way to not penalize the young people may be sending a different message, that being that it's more important to have your shot at the NFL.
Will the program recover, eventually. Will it be respected, I don't think so.