From the end of the Sandusky Trials to the revelations of the Freeh Reports, the sports world was abuzz, with questions on how Penn State would be punished. Some said that they should fine the school, others lobbied for lifetime bans and stripped records, and some even pushed for the notorious "death penalty" for the football program.
Their fate was decided on July 23rd, 2012. The NCAA brought down the hammer, punishing Penn State so harshly that the death penalty was considered to be a more merciful option by many.
The punishment Penn State received included:
* A $60 million fine, to be paid over a 5 year period. The money itself will fund programs yo help prevent child sexual abuse and assist victims of child sexual abuse. Additionally, the NCAA ruled that Penn State cannot cut funding to other sports programs or scholarships to help pay the fines.
* A 4-year postseason ban. The football program will not be able to compete in any bowl games, the BIg Ten Conference Championship Games, or in any other playoff game. The Big Ten will also cut Penn State's $13 million bowl revenue during the same time frame and donate it to charitable programs within Big Ten communities.
* A decrease in their initial recruit scholarships from 25 to 15 for the next four years. Also starting in the 2014 season and going to 2017, the amount of college players Penn State can have on scholarship will drop from 85 to 65.
* All of the program's 112 wins from 1998-2011 will be vacated. 111 of those wins were attributed to former head coach Joe Paterno, stripping him of the record for most wins in college football history.
* The university must hire compliance officers and monitors approved by the NCAA and Big Ten committee to oversee the athletic department and the school's ethical and legal matters to prevent any future cover ups. This includes setting up a hotline for anonymous questions and disclosures about any issues regarding the school's athletic program or any NCAA issues as well as training to school employees about "issues of ethics, and civility, standards of contact and reporting of violations."
* Penn State football players will have the right to transfer out of Penn State to play for another school without losing a year of eligibility, as would normally be enforced.
What Jerry Sandusky did was unforgivable. Plus, the lack of action by Joe Paterno along with the university's leadership was dispicable. That all being said, did the NCAA do the right thing? Each individual who was involved in the scandal and cover-up has been either fired, jailed, or has paid fines. But does an entire school deserve punishment for the crimes of a few? Should the Penn State football players miss the chance to compete in Bowl Games because their former coaches were human scum bags? You decide.
-Ryan L. Fox
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