As you can see in the above picture, Penn State students jaws literally dropped as the sanctions against their school were announced. And as you can expect, twitter and facebook has literally exploded as everyone has an opinion on the issue.
I have to admit, I am a bit divided on the issue. I like the fact that there is a punishment and a big one against the University. And I am glad that the $73M in penalties will be going to child abuse groups. With the penalty, the NCAA is flexing their muscles and putting a big bite in the term “lack of institutional control”. In effect, Penn State is the poster boy for Mark Emmert’s NCAA and sends a big message to schools everywhere: Clean up your program. Even the off the field stuff or we will reduce you to a D2 program.
Is it warranted? Yes and No. Is it fair? Yes and No. I can argue both sides of the debate. I do think that while a penalty may have been unwarranted, punishing the student athletes/alumni/fans of the program was over the line. The players on the football team had NOTHING to do with this and do not deserve to be punished. In theory, they are not being directly, but indirectly they are. Kids go to Penn State to play in bowl games and to take part in building the Penn State legacy. Now the crimes of a few people have basically crippled a once proud program and made them effectively a D2 program.
Could the NCAA have given a different punishment? Sure. I would have doubled the fine against the administration, but am against the loss of scholarships and a bowl ban? That is just overkill against the athletes who had nothing to do with this. Let the players go to a bowl, but don’t let the university make a cent off the games. The players did not sign up for this, but the loss of scholarships and bowl games seem like overkill. If you are going to do that, hand down the death penalty.
As I said before, everyone has an opinion on this. One of the national pundits that I seem to agree with the most if Andy Staple of Sports Illustrated. He sent out this tweet:
While I think the NCAA overstepped here, I’m OK with the big fine. Also like transfer freedom for players.
Staples’s point of view is not universal in this. Ex Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks weighed in and he did not seem to be a fan of the decision at all:
We sure learned nothing from Duke Lacrosse on the rush to judgement. Why not let the process play out and then assess the penalty’s.
The level of dissent of opinions runs pretty much nationwide. Even here at the WBN, there is a differing of opinions. Football writer Darren Durham had this to say on the penalties:
I think the NCAA is out of line penalizing PSU in any way. They have never been involved in criminal cases and have no place in them. The judicial system is dealing with those who broke the law and this moves smacks of pandering to the public. Emmert has shown a need to do the “popular” thing and this is no different. Also vacating wins is childish. Everyone knows Penn State won those games, pretending they didn’t doesn’t make those victims feel any better.
Daniel Solzman was quick and to the point and hoped for the death penalty. It seems that most of us are at one end of the spectrum or stuck dab in the middle. And some people changed their minds.