The NCAA Penn State Debate

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 12: Beaver Stadium is empty before Penn State takes on Nebraska on November 12, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Head football coach Joe Paterno was fired amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Penn State is playing their final home football game against Nebraska. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

This morning the NCAA has announced the list of penalties that it will levy against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. A scandal that has destroyed legacies and shaken a once proud college program and fanbase. While no one is debating the fact that the events at Penn State have been disturbing and tragic, the action by the NCAA has taken center stage today and stirred up some debate of it's own.

First off, the penalties:

$60 Million fine to begin endowment for programs related to child abuse (equivalent of 1 yr gross revenue).

Bowl Ban and postseason Ban 4 years.

Penn State football scholarship reduction from 25 to 15 for 4 years.

Any player may transfer and play immediately.

NCAA vacates all wins from 1998 to 2011.

University athletic program will serve a five year probation.

NCAA reserves the right to impose sanctions on individuals following criminal trials.

University must adopt reforms suggested in Freeh report.

Various other reporting and program implications to make cultural changes.

The question seems to be, what has this accomplished? The crimes and cover up that have taken place at Penn State are being addressed in a criminal and civil court room and they extend from the State to Federal level in terms of severity. So what role should the NCAA play? What do corrective and punitive measures accomplish when the punishment of those responsible will be served by a higher authority?

Is the NCAA accomplishing anything that helps the victims? Or are they simply punishing players, a program and a fanbase that was in the dark until recently? It's a difficult balance. The NCAA obviously needs to take a stand, but in an instance of criminal actions what is the role? You aren't likely to find many people that will feel sorry for Penn State given what occurred, but it is an interesting discussion and debate considering that those who are now being punished had very little if anything to do with the reason for the punishment.

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