10/02/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak
The NCAA's recent decision to lift the sanctions against the Penn State football program is the right decision. And the reason is because the punishment was never right in the first place.
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State was penalized 20 scholarships for four years along with a four-year bowl ban, and any scholarship player at Penn State was allowed to transfer to another university without losing any eligibility. A $60 million dollar fine was also levied, and 100+ victories were rescinded as well. Here's the problem with all of that. None of those penalties punished anybody responsible for what happened.
What happened at Penn State had nothing to do with a violation of any NCAA rules or anything that happened on the field. The entire Sandusky incident is an atrocity that is a violation of the law. This was a criminal matter that is rightfully being handled by the legal system. Jerry Sandusky is in prison, where he belongs. Former President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Tim Curley were terminated and are facing perjury charges. The matter is being handled in court, where it should be handled.
The NCAA dishing out this punishment to Penn State was an overboard reaction to the outcry that the NCAA had to do something. How is a post-season ban against current players who had nothing to do with what happened a just punishment? How is taking away scholarships fair when the current athletic department at Penn State wasn't involved in anything that happened? The NCAA is punishing the present for something that happened in the past, and that had nothing to do with athletics. Jerry Sandusky is a criminal. And if Spanier, Schultz, and Curley are convicted because they were trying to cover up what was going on , they are criminals too and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And that has nothing to do with the NCAA because this is beyond their jurisdiction and has been from the beginning.
The NCAA has a history of punishing the present or future to deal with the past. For some reason the NCAA thinks they can say that a win "doesn't count anymore". Well unfortunately, those games were played. The team that won those games actually won, that result happened. You can't erase what happened. Taking away victories or saying that wins didn't count may be the dumbest attempt at discipline in history. There is no way to change what's already happened. If the NCAA wants to dish out punishment, find a way do dish out a punishment that actually punishes those responsible for it.
In this case though, the NCAA got it right by lifting the sanctions against Penn State. The current players don't deserve to be punished for something that had nothing to do with them.
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