Penn State and the NCAA
Despite What You’re Hearing in the Media, This was no Slap On The Wrist
Let me be very clear. I hate Penn State. Not because of Sandusky, although that certainly helps. I hate them because I am a Buckeye. As an Ohio State alum, I hated Paterno, I hated their ginger assistant coach, Mike McQueary, I hated their “White Outs” when they played us in prime time and I hated their ridiculously plain uniforms.
That being said, I’ll defend their punishment. A lot of people, myself included, pondered in recent weeks if Penn State deserved the only once ever doled-out “Death Penalty.” The only other school to receive that punishment was Southern Methodist University in the 1980’s. SMU ran rampant with corruption and improper benefits (ESPN made a fantastic documentary about it for their 30 for 30 series. Check it out on Netflix). Did cancelling SMU football for a couple years fix the problem of players and their families receiving improper benefits? Ask USC, the University of Miami and the aforementioned Ohio State. That’s just within the last five years.
No, rather than swinging a 2×4 into the head of Penn State football, the NCAA hit them squarely in both knee caps. Granted, Penn State has been a little down the last couple years, but a four year bowl ban? Just when the NCAA decided to start having four team playoffs for the championship with tens of millions of dollars on the line? Devastating. Vacated wins are generally a copout in my opinion, but to have your football team essentially erased from existence going back to 1998? Embarrassing. Losing so many scholarships, thus preventing you from fielding much top-flight talent until the latter part of this decade? Debilitating.
This speaks nothing of the hundreds of millions the school will lose with the $60 million fine (a first to the best of my knowledge) in addition to the millions upon millions they will have to pay in civil settlements. Don’t forget the millions in potential tuition revenue out the door. Do you think students are clamoring to put Penn State on their resumes?
No, this was not a slap on the wrist. The Death Penalty would have been merciful. They would have been off the radar. Out of sight, out of mind. The NCAA slapped Penn State with the Scarlet Letter and said “Hey! Go enjoy the next 5 years! Let us know how it goes!”