I have chosen for the better part of the last year to avoid writing about the Penn State tragedy and write about the stomach churning details of what Jerry Sandusky did. But since the Freeh report, I have had a numerous range of emotions, ranging from anger to just plain disgust. I have lost a lot of respect for what was once perceived as a “clean” school and football program. I am not going to bash the school or Joe Paterno, he is gone and it won’t make anything better.
We have seen the Paterno Statue removed from in front of Beaver Stadium and the fact that Paterno’s name has been removed from a building on the Nike campus in Oregon. The Freeh report has torn down a long standing thought that Penn State was a school of virtue and value. Instead it seems like it was run by men who cared more about protecting the sacred football wins and “clean image” than protecting children’s lives.
The NCAA levied some serious fines and sanctions against the school, but even after a few days it just doesn’t feel like enough. Penn State avoided the death penalty by agreeing not to appeal, but with the heinous nature of the crimes committed by Sandusky on campus, and the ensuing cover up since 1998 it seems that something more needed to be done. It will be up to each individual person to decide how Joe Paterno’s legacy will be remembered; The NCAA has made sure he won’t be at the forefront of any record books.
Anyone who can sit there and say with a straight face that the scholarship reductions and other sanctions will end up destroying Penn State for a long time needs to look in the mirror and come back to reality. Penn State has been one of the “Big Dogs” of the NCAA for a very long time and while they will struggle in the interim, it won’t make a difference the long run because they will still get to be on TV. Penn State will still be a destination for a lot of kids out of the northeastern part of the country. Yes, they will lose quality recruits and players now, once they are on the backside of the sanctions, it will be back to old hat for Penn State.
Penn State dodged a major bullet, and I think everyone surrounding the program knows they should have had their program shut down for at least a year. This is the time for the administration and staff at Penn State to show the country they are making huge changes across the board to prevent anything like this happening ever again. NCAA President Mark Emmert said “These sanctions will help Penn State make changes without worrying about wins and Bowl trips”
If the school can make the appropriate changes and keep their nose clean, then they will return to the upper echelon unscathed except for a big black eye. For that Penn State is very lucky. It almost makes you wonder if Penn State agreed to these sanctions to cover up other activities that an investigation would have uncovered…Guess we will never know.Please be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook