There has been much speculation about what was going to happen to the Penn State football program and it all came to fruition this morning in a huge way. The question isn’t will they recover, it’s can they? Let’s take a look at their punishment for covering up the crimes of a former assistant that needs not be named.
Statue is done . . , is the program done as well?
Mark Emmert hosted the press conference at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, IN amidst some controversy over his power to do so. It was widely believed he was responding to Penn State’s request to handle this situation immediately and the penalties were their idea.
Edward J. Ray kicked off the press conference with a comment about what had taken place and that focus needs to stay on the victims in this case with regard to the children who were involved and not what was going to happen to the university. He announced that the cover up most definitely violated fundamental bylaws in the NCAA and that adhering to the “fundamental values” of humanity.
Mark Emmert then appeared to the podium and was obviously stressed over what he was about to do.
These were the announced sanctions:
1. $60 million fine that will go into an endowment to feed into sexual child abuse programs and equals the amount of money the program makes in one year.
2. Football post season ban for four years
3. Scholarship reductions from 25 to 15 over the next four years for incoming players and from 75 to 65 for players on the team (80 total) , players wishing to transfer will be allowed to without restrictions and will be allowed to play immediately.
4. Football program will vacate all wins from 1998 to 2011 and all records will be reflected as such. 112 total wins for Joe Paterno removed and effectively taking him off the top of the all-time wins column.
5. Football program will be placed on five years probation.
Additionally, a formal investigation into members of the staff and penalties can be imposed according to criminal investigation results. There will also be vehicles put in place by the NCAA that will act much like a compliance department with the intent to maintain the integrity of the sports program.
Mark Emmert discussed the thought process that went into not giving a two-year death penalty. The NCAA believes that in effect, it would have penalized players and coaches that were not involved in the cover up. They tried to find a balance between the two and believe they were dealing with the worst situation they ever have.
In total, the hammer has been brought and the football program will have difficulty surviving these sanctions, but they are being given the opportunity to do it. The University has undeniably agreed with the sanctions and have signed off on it.
In line with the wish to maintain focus on the abuse victims, the $60 million fine will go a long way towards benefiting victims of sexual abuse across the country, which is obviously a good thing. There are still all of the victims of the predator to be taken care of and the University will have to do that next.
At the very least, those victims have some closure with this decision, although several criminal cases are ongoing. Sandusky is in prison for the rest of his life, Penn State University has been penalized, and now they can begin true healing.
What are your thoughts on which penalty is the harshest?