NCAA’s Penn State Penalties: Significant but Hardly “Unprecedented”
The discussion prior to the release of the actual Penn State penalties (in light of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation crimes and the school’s culpability regarding the cover-up) was the hits levied against the football program would be “unprecedented.”
The actual penalties are hardly unprecedented; they include a large fine (unusual), a loss of scholarships (significant but normal), post-season ban (normal), being put on probation (normal), and having some records “vacated” (also normal).
Having records vacated matters little; it’s about like closing the gate after the cow’s gotten out or keeping Barry Bonds out of the Baseball Hall of Fame due to his PED use.
The fine is more significant given its large dollar value ($60 million), but that’s only the average annual revenue of the football program. Penn State will make up the difference with the ambiguous “student fee” charges in no time.
The most significant damage to the football program will the the loss of scholarships, 10 initially and 20 for each of the next four years. I’d hope the NCAA would release every player from their commitment to Penn State and let them leave to play elsewhere (should they want) and with immediate eligibility. There’s no reason current players should have to suffer for their sins of their institution and future Penn State recruits should have full knowledge of the school’s non-competitive football program.
Penn State avoided the so-called “death penalty.” The death penalty would have meant no PSU football competition for one (or more) years.
It’s one thing to have a dirty football program; lots of schools have that. It’s another to have a felony criminal conspiracy which includes a football program. As such, I think the NCAA made the right call with their sanctions, but would argue the penalties themselves should have been harsher.
Who would have thought the Miami Hurricanes had a less-criminal football program than Penn State?