Penn State Penalties: Does The Punishment Fit The Crime?

    July 23, 2012
    Amanda Crum
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Penn State has been embroiled in controversy for over a year now regarding the heinous acts of one man–Jerry Sandusky–against several young boys, but in recent months we’ve seen the university he worked for, as well as several of his co-workers, become involved as stories of cover-ups and lack of action have poured forth. One of the questions on everyone’s mind has been, “Will the football program be shut down?” Now, it looks like that question has been answered.

The NCAA has just issued penalties for the school; rather than closing the program for good–an action that many called for–the university will face $60 million in fines (which will go to a fund for child abuse victims), lose ten scholarships a year over the next four years, and will be banned from bowl games for the same period of time. They will also be on probation for five years, meaning one false step and the NCAA could make a move to shut them down. And, in what many consider to be a shocking move, the college has vacated all of Coach Joe Paterno’s victories from 1998-2001, meaning he will no longer hold the record for most wins.

Early on Sunday morning, it was announced that the university’s statue of Paterno would be taken down and moved to a secure location, which is not part of the penalties enforced upon the football program, but rather an effort to cleanse the school so the victims can begin healing.

While most will agree that these penalties are at least a step in the right direction, some wonder if the punishment truly fits the crimes of the men involved, and whether healing can truly be done with the program still open and running. However, NCAA president Mark Emmert made a statement regarding their decision, making it clear that the victims are the first priority.

“No matter what we do here today, there is no action we can take that will remove their pain and anguish,” Emmert said. “But what we can do is impose sanctions that both reflect the magnitude of these terrible acts and that also ensure that Penn State will rebuild an athletic culture that went horribly awry. Our goal is not to be just punitive, but to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture in which football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people.”

  • Lucy

    If there was ever a crime or list of violations, Penn State deserved the death penalty. These penalties don’t mean squat. Do they still get to play football? YES. And that’s all that matters to the NCAA. Money. So they got a huge fine – big deal. Who or what does that fine fix? Is it going to help victims or this horrendous crime? No, it just makes the NCAA look tough. Take away wins. What does that do? Change the record books. And they picked 1998 because that was the first “report of abuse”. Bulls**t. Sandusky was at Penn State for numerous, numerous years and he LEFT in 1999 so you KNOW there are so many BEFORE 1998. They lose a few scholarships, and don’t get any of the Big Ten Bowl money. Poor babies.

    If you look at it, that’s not punishment. That’s the NCAA covering their asses. You can repaint murals, take down statues and rename all the towns and villages you want. The bottom line is Penn State KNEW what was happening and they did NOTHING to stop it. This is not justice for the victims. The ONLY – the ONE AND ONLY justice for the many victims that we don’t know about and probably will never know about would be to give Penn State the death penalty. They put football above all else, even human dignity.

    But please, by all means – let them play football.

    The NCAA should be ashamed of themselves and I am embarrassed to call myself a sports fan. Sad day and a sad chapter in college athletics when something this grotesque can’t move the NCAA to do the right thing. Money trumps everything. Shame on you!!!

  • Dafirestar

    Your question does the penalty fit the crime is a trick question. What is an appropriate penalty for a child molester and the people that cover it or ignore the fact it’s happening? Can you truly punish enough? The point is the penalty should be on the molester and the people that allow it to happen and that’s not at all what happened. The penalty the NCAA gave PSU was not close to fair. The NCAA punished the students, the football team, the entire Happy Valley Area, who you could argue were victimized themselves from this scandal, on top you want to take away all that they have to allow them to heal. I think they punished the wrong people, the people involved weren’t punished at all with this punishment, the NCAA punished the community with this sanction. In reality you’ve taken the only thing that area has, that is PSU Football.