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Today the NCAA announced that they were handing down sanctions for the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky and his conviction for child molestation.

  • $60 million fine
  • No Bowl Games for 4 years
  • Loss of 40 scholarships during this time.

Such sanctions will relegate Penn State to the has-beens of college football.  It is just not possible to have a reasonably competitive program with those kind of sanctions.

The question; is it fair?

The mob mentality thinks it may not be enough.  I would argue, based on what we know today, any NCAA sanctions are misguided.  This based on what the NCAA used to determine sanctions; a report by former FBI head, Louis Freeh who was hired by the University to conduct a full investigation.

It appears from his report that this was a very closely held scandal.  The small number of people involved are either:

  • Dead, with their reputation forever tarnished.  (Joe Paterno)
  • Awaiting sentencing for what will turn out to be a life sentence.
  • Two others former administrators are under indictment and awaiting trail.
  • One other Penn State Board member resigned because he didn’t pass the accusation to the rest of the board.

So what is left?  A lot of employes and athletes  that had nothing to do with do with any of this and certainly no knowledge.  And in reality, they are the ones who will be punished by the NCAA.

This is not to minimize the evil that took place. But those were criminal violations and have been addressed by the criminal justice system.

Suppose for a moment that your child is in a great HS band program. It comes to light that a previous instructor, long gone, molested a child years several years ago.  Five people in the school covered it up and are facing appropriate criminal charges.  Then suddenly, because of public outrage, the State School Superintendent steps in to tell the school that their band program is disbanded. Maybe your child would like to transfer to a different school with a program.  That is essentially what has happened here.

And there is another danger here.  Expansion of NCAA sanctions beyond the scope of their charter. The NCAA was formed to act as a referee for the member colleges.  To create a level playing field and to punish schools who would opt to violate those rules in order to gain a competitive advantage. There are no rules, that I know of, that cover individual criminal offenses.  There are a lot of rules about not giving athletes car rides or inviting them for a holiday dinner with your family.

All to often the NCAA finds a way to punish the innocent while the guilty slide out the side door.  A recent example is Pete Carroll, the coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll moved on to the NFL once he realized USC was going to receive major sanctions for the Reggie Bush scandal. Many of the USC players, who naturally wanted to win, had to leave the school of their choice in order to find a program that would offer them a chance win a championship.

But maybe I’m wrong.  What do you think and why? You can leave a comment below.

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