Louis Freeh with his 267 page report publicized thursday brought the community of Penn State to a stand still. Proving that not only did the late Joe Paterno know about the alleged sexual abuse of players by Jerry Sandusky, he played a role in covering it up. Penn State has a long and prestigious history, the kind legends are made of. This was the reasoning behind the cover up. Higher up officials were noted to have specifically requested that Paterno not pursue the allegations. Sadly, Paterno was alleged to have told Sandusky not to bring any “boys” around the school, however he was given keys to the showers and had his own office where a lot of the abuse took place. Taking a blind eye to the abuse and hoping it would “go away” was what was on the agenda of Penn State officials. The officials knew about it but were more concerned about public image and recruits than the victims. Sadly Joe Paterno a highly respected Coach and official allowed this to happen. With the recent public outcry, outrage and disbelief concerning how this was all handled has damaged the reputation of Penn State more than if they would have just fired Sandusky in the beginning. Perhaps then Penn State could have salvaged their dignity and allowed justice for the victims.
“What happened at Penn State is emblematic of a pervasive culture on college campuses where reputation is more important than academic quality, transparency, ethics and accountability,” said Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. “It also underscores the distressing fact that, in too many places, the academic mission has taken a back seat to athletics.”
What happens now? Many are wondering if the NCAA will repeat the 1987 Death penalty which was bestowed upon SMU for payment of players. An investigation ensued after allegations that SMU was paying off players that found 21 players who had received approximately $61,000 in cash. As a slap in the face to the NCAA, the payments were found to have started only a month after SMU had undergone its original probation from a previous investigation. SMU officials were also found to have lied to the NCAA about when the payments had stopped, which in hindsight had only stopped for one month. Considering the level of criminal activity that took place at Penn State, what happened at SMU looks like a cakewalk. Its seems a harsh punishment for the players of Penn State but perhaps they can be transferred to other College Football teams that will fit their needs. Penn State officials should suffer the consequences of their actions.Eliminating football will definitely hit them where it hurts and force them to take a look and rebuild a new foundation.
I don’t see how Penn State football can thrive. How will they recruit new players? The stigma that will follow the current team wont be easily shaken. The death penalty seems to me to be the only real way to send a true shock wave to Penn State officials forcing them to change their ways. Public humiliation isn’t enough for a college community that turns a blind eye to their students who are being abused. If a death penalty isnt inflicted how can we be sure the cover ups wont continue?