NCAA President Mark Emmert announced his punishment against Penn State University this morning, and it was severe and unprecedented. Yesterday, sources had said Penn State would have prefered the Death Penalty to the coming sanctions… they were probably right. Here's the full list of sanctions handed down this morning in light of the sexual abuse of Jerry Sandusky and cover-up at Penn State:
-Four year postseason ban
-$60 Million fine to be given to endowment to support child abuse prevention programs.
-Vacate all wins from 1998-2011
-Loss of 10 scholarships per year for four years
-5 years probation
-All players may immediately transfer.
The punishments are severe, but I'm still left with a feeling of emptiness. As much as we may try to not do it, this story has become about the future of a football program instead of focusing on the prevention of child abuse and helping the victims of Jerry Sandusky. It was bound to happen, but its regretful that the focus has now become the football program and a hunk of metal. As far as the sanctions themselves go, of course they're extreme, but so was the behavior by the most powerful men at Penn State. At least the fine will go to a proper place.
The debate will rage on regarding whether or not the NCAA even had jurisdiction to hand down this punishment, but now with this unilateral punishment the NCAA has more power than ever before. What precedent does it set? How often does the NCAA act unilaterally to punish crimes outside the rulebook? Does the NCAA now become a moral arbitor of justice in all cases? Those are questions the NCAA now faces moving forward.
No pounds of flesh are enough at Penn State to make things right or make up for what happened. There are no amount of scholarships or no bowl bans or stripped victories will take back the crimes that were committed. However, the instant reaction is that the NCAA and Mark Emmert largely struck the right balance in this punishment as a statement to prevent a football culture from overpowering an entire university and covering up horrific crimes again.
If you think the NCAA punishments handed down to Penn State are too harsh or they aren't enough, you're probably right on both counts this morning.