The NCAA purported “Death” Sentence handed down on Penn State this past Monday really seemed like a fumble of Bowl-like proportions.
By now everyone knows that former defensive football coach Jerry Sandusky committed unthinkable horrors on young boys and men while holding one of the more prestigious posts in all of college athletics.
What baffles me is how NCAA President Mark Emmert, who seems to be the last horse out of the barn on this, has thrown an awfully big penalty flag on the university, it’s students, teachers and officials. Starting with a $60 million dollar fine, no bowl games for four years, and ending with -- what gets me most -- the loss of 10 scholarships for the next four years.
Who would those scholarships have gone to? Kids. Need I say more?
Instead of punishing the original coaches and school officials, who all have been either indicted, dismissed, or both; it seems the punishment has been meted out on those innocent last-men-standing.
I travelled through that dull grey region of western Pennsylvania years ago. Billboard after billboard proclaimed Joe Paterno and Penn State as an almost defacto Church of Pennsylvania. Paterno’s picture was on everything from car dealerships to washing machines. His impact on that area transcended football and athletics.
Now his legacy is a shambles, leaving the school disgraced for future generations. Paterno died only a few months after his resignation/dismissal – as much a victim from his sudden meteoric fall -- as from cancer.
Let them tear down Paterno’s statue, along with his reputation. That’s the most they can and should do. But to punish the university and its future generations -- kids clinging to the smallest margin of hope and glory -- for the past sins of a few middle-aged men who were badly misguided, seems, well, to be just as misguided.