Sadness in Happy Valley – Penn State’s Punishment
Penn State Falls From Glory
When NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Monday the sanctions that would be placed on Penn State as a result of the Sandusky scandal, it was made violently clear that Penn State’s football program would never be the same again. We’ve all already heard the sick and ghastly stories surrounding Jerry Sandusky and what happened on Penn State’s campus, but from a purely athletic standpoint, Penn State almost wishes they would’ve gotten the death penalty (1 year shutdown of the football program) rather than what the NCAA slammed on their heads Monday morning.
The Penn State sanctions read as follows:
- $60 million fine
- Vacating of wins from 1998-2011 (112 total wins)
- 4-year scholarship reduction (10 in the first year, then 20 in each of the next 3 years)
- 4-year bowl ban, Big Ten Championship ban, and National Championship ban
- Current PSU players can transfer without penalty and play immediately at other schools
- Athletic department placed on 5 year probation
It’s almost impossible to fathom the size and gravity of these sanctions simply because we have never seen such punishment handed down on a scale of this magnitude before. Penn State is looking at no bowls for the next 4 years, that means no income form those games, no television exposure or revenue, and no hope for their players of ever playing for any type of a championship in the next 4 years. Also, the Big Ten has stated that Penn State will receive no share of the Big Ten’s revenue share during this time, instead that money will go towards charity.
Along with the 4-year ban, the loss of scholarships and the fact that any player can transfer out immediately is going to be crippling for the program. How is current head coach Bill O’Brien supposed to recruit players to play at Penn State when he has only a handful of scholarships and a dreadful university image to boot? Not to mention the fact that selling any type of Penn State tradition to prospects would be virtual suicide. Penn State is not only looking at an uphill climb for the next 4 years, but also for the next 10 years, simply because the talent from these next 4 Penn State recruiting classes will not become apparent until years after the fact. That is, if Penn State is able to get any talent at all.
The vacating of wins from ’98-’11 only signifies the fact that any previous football tradition at Penn State is over, done with, and never to be spoken about again. It only seemed fitting that just the day before these sanctions were announced, university officials removed Joe Paterno’s statue from in front of Beaver Stadium; the shadowy outlines of the bronze players who stood behind his statue ghostly reminders of what was once a proud program.
You can argue whether you agree with these sanctions or not. Regardless, the sanctions stand, and Penn State has a mountain of work cut out for them. The fallout from this Sandusky scandal has been monstrous and unparalleled and one can only hope that we never have to see something like this ever again. Yet, as brutal as this may sound, this is only the beginning. Not only does Penn State University have to start the healing process that could last for the next decade, but more importantly, the victims of Jerry Sandusky have to start the healing process. And that will take much, much longer, and be much, much more painful.
By: Brett Gordon
College: Lindenwood University
Major: Mass Communications