July 23, 2012 Leave a comment
So the verdict is in and the penalties have been handed down to Penn State University and their football team. They will receive $60 million in penalties, a reduction of 25 scholarships to 15 for the next four years, a four year bowl ban, all wins will be wiped out from 1998 through 2011, and other measures to institute and monitor institutional control at the university. There is no ‘Death Penalty’, but this is pretty close, and will no doubt rock the football program and send a message to other universities and football programs alike. All football programs must have better institutional control and put more focus back on education.
How does anyone else feel about these penalties? There is no one penalty that could ever erase what happened to the children. Most of the individuals involved have been removed and will no doubt be prosecuted. Who this penalty hits the hardest is the current, future, and former players who were not involved. Wins are erased from the record books, current and future players will be unable to complete in post season bowl games, and less players will have a chance to receive a scholarship and the chance at a free education. I guess this means Bobby Bowden is now the all-time wins leader again.
As a football fan I am disappointed. How could someone penalize players who were not involved? But stepping back I believe this is a good thing. Athletes are measured by statistics: wins vs. losses, total rushing yards and yards per carry, pass completion %, total passing yards, touchdowns, total receiving yards, points scored vs. points allowed, etc. The only way to levy effective control is to set a measurable penalty that other programs can gauge themselves against. Much like how programs can weigh the penalties placed on SMU (death penalty), and other programs who lost scholarships (FSU, OSU, USC), and decide if what they do is worth it. The penalties at Penn State provide another measure for programs to look at and decide how they want their program to operate in the future.
It all still dwarfs in comparison to what the victims have to deal with for the rest of their lives. But, will Penn State ever recover? How do current players continue? How will this impact other programs? Will NCAA football, and other sports as well, clean its act up, and have better institutional control over more than just the issues at Penn State? Issues like pay for play, drugs, sexual assaults, and academic fraud. Will the “win at all costs” mentality take a back seat to ensuring players are getting a real education?