Well you knew when the NCAA decided to get involved after the Freeh Report released that things were going to get bad for Penn State. Here’s what Mark Emmert and Co. have doled out as punishment to the PSU football program.
— A $60 million sanction that will be paid to programs preventing child sex abuse*.
— Vacate all wins from 1998-2011; the vacated wins will be reflected in Joe Paterno’s overall record.
— Four-year bowl ban.
— Reduced scholarships by ten in the first year with 20 for every year after during the length bowl ban.
Essentially, Penn State’s football and athletic program are f*cked.
But this is what happens when you live in a 24-hour news cycle world. The media kicks and screams for justice until the NCAA—which has never applied such penalties in any similar circumstance—finally does act, this being their knee-jerk reaction without debate or their own review.
True, there hasn’t been any situation in college athletics quite like what happened at Penn State, but that’s moot. Teammates have killed one another and the NCAA hasn’t punished simply for the criminal act. The NCAA’s swinging the morality hammer now that, despite the obviousness of Sandusky’s atrocities, still remains completely debatable.
This is especially true when those guilty have either died or will face the wrath of the criminal justice system—our designated purveyor of all societal morality. The NCAA’s jurisdiction lies in tattoos and whatever its definition of amateurism might be that day, neither of which Penn State sullied in this case.
Of course, the school benefited from not having this blow up sooner (especially in terms of revenue), but Chuck Klosterman summed up why NCAA involvement isn’t necessary on a recent B.S. Report with Bill Simmons.
“It’s not going to affect anything in the future. If this happens again—if there’s some pedophile at Arizona State—he’s not going to leave kids alone because he’s like, ‘man, Penn State got the death penalty for this. I would hate for Arizona State to get the death penalty.’ I don’t know how damaging the football program does anything but make some moral point.”
There should be punishment, but it shouldn’t be the NCAA’s responsibility to inflict. Their—and the Big Ten’s impending—sanctions are the under-reasoned responses to ambiguous guidelines and windbag media personalities. People will pay, yes, but no one who should—namely the athletes and students.
* – For context, the school’s athletic budget is somewhere in the region of a little over $100 million. According to student-run Onward State, student tuition does not go towards the school’s athletics budget, but $12 million of the athletic department’s $18 million profits went towards paying the tuition of scholarship athletes in 2009-2010.