A few friends have asked what I thought about the recent sanctions brought down by the NCAA to the Penn State football program. As an alumna, it confuses me. Here are some initial, slightly jumbled thoughts.
I think this is another example of the focus being taken off of the actual perpetrator as well as the actual victims of this crime, and propagandizing the whole big mess. I definitely agree with sanctions – even the death penalty would have been understandable. But Penn State was poised, and preparing, to become a world-class research and treatment center for child abuse. With the marring of the football program, the university will slowly see their endowments and funds diminish. Taxes in my state will go up, and tuition will rise to help make up the difference. (Penn State is already one of the most expensive public schools in the union.)
These big goals to provide effective child abuse prevention programs will never be able to materialize in the wake of these sanctions. I’m willing to bet that if JoePa’s image wasn’t as squeaky clean as it was, the sanctions would not have been so drastic. This is pure propagandizing by the NCAA. There’s very little therapeutic value in these sanctions for the victims, and it really punishes the entire state of Pennsylvania as well as anyone and everyone part of the Penn State community from the past to the present. Did anyone from the NCAA even ASK the victims how they think Penn State football should be punished? They are all young adults and able to speak for themselves.
(I may be opening up a can of worms here, but I can’t help but mention that the Vatican was FAR LESS punitive on the child abuse cover-ups which pervaded the Catholic Church for nearly 25 years. The President even granted immunity to Pope Benedict! I’m not asking for immunity for Joe Paterno or the football program, but we COULD compare these cases as apples to apples if we wanted to.)
Stripping Joe Paterno of his wins is a slap in the face to every single football player who played in any Penn State game during that time. Taking away scholarships is only going to close more doors to higher education for student-athletes who need them (I’ll save my rant on higher education access for another time). Disqualifying PSU for postseason games is fair. It will, however, discourage new recruits from playing for Penn State. Who the heck would play for Penn State now, knowing that they can’t play in a Bowl Game until maybe their junior or senior year? THIS will be what wreaks havoc on the funding of the football program. We will lose major donors, which will have a devastating effect on the University’s ability to not only recover, but to give back. And Penn State really does love to give back. And I really can’t see how this is at all helping the kids? Remember what this is all about? The KIDS.
So sanctions in and of themselves, I agree with. I believe punitive action is necessary. But some of these sanctions seem quite a bit counterintuitive in their attempt to address the real issue.
Ok, maybe I should pull out my box of college photos and destroy them now. There’s no reason we should have been having so much fun at all those games in Beaver Stadium…. I just found out we didn’t win any of them after all. 😦
Penn State will never be the same.
On second thought, wait… They might actually mean more to me now than ever. Because they tell the neessary story of how life just isn’t fair sometimes. And how nothing, not ONE thing in this world, no matter how benign it might seem on the outside, is not tainted by profound, disgusting, deplorable sin – the effects of which are incredibly far-reaching throughout many generations. I’ll tell these stories to my children one day, through these pictures.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus…
My freshman roommate and I on a mini-reunion at Beaver Stadium, Oct 2011. We had no idea that trouble was just around the corner for Penn State.
We had no idea we were watching Joe Paterno coach his last home game.
Nothing like a night game. In the snow!
Penn State family, Sandusky does not define us. Neither do the actions of any of the leaders who dropped the ball.