Column: Penn State punishment just right
Monday morning, the NCAA handed down its punishment against Penn State for its cover up of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.
Both the football program and the university felt the blow from the NCAA, and it was a punch well-placed.
The university has a $73 million sanction from the NCAA and the Big Ten. The football program will vacate all of its wins from 1998-2011, face a four-year postseason ban and a reduction of scholarships from 25 to 15.
There is nothing the NCAA could do to make up for what Sandusky did to those children, now men, but this punishment will put a mark on Penn State that will never be erased.
First the wins, 111 to be exact, will be taken from program history.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said they started at the 1998 wins because that is when the first report was made against Sandusky.
But the 111 vacated wins does more than what meets the eye: It kills former head coach Joe Paterno’s legacy.
He no longer holds the all-time Division I wins record in NCAA football history. That status now belongs to Eddie Robinson (Grambling State) with 408 wins, who died in April 2007. Paterno now falls to fifth all-time.
For now, that doesn’t matter. We know who won all those games. But generations from now won’t. All they will know of is the scandal and the coverup. The black eye will live on, and Paterno’s legacy will die.
The four-year postseason ban takes Penn State out of contention for a Big Ten Championship and a bowl game, but, with all the other punishments handed down, that goes without saying.
The reduction of scholarships, the postseason ban and the fact that current Penn State players can transfer without penalty will make it nearly impossible for Penn State to be competitive for many years after the ban.
It’ll be years until Penn State will be competitive again, more years than the bans show, but it’s what a university that put football ahead of children’s well-being deserves.
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