An Ill-Fitting Punishment

I’m not a big fan of sports.  In fact, before Craig and I got back together, I paid no more attention to sports than to know who was in the Super Bowl or World Series each year, and even that information zoomed out of my brain very quickly after the winner was announced.  But even if Craig weren’t as into sports as he is, I doubt I’d have been able to ignore the recent events at Penn State with regards to Jerry Sandusky, and all the media coverage surrounding that debacle.

Being a survivor of child molestation (I refuse to think of myself as a “victim”), I was very happy when Jerry Sandusky was arrested for the many atrocities he committed to those young boys.  I look forward to his sentencing, since it seems likely that he won’t be a free man before he dies.  I also feel that the administrators at Penn State should definitely be reprimanded for not paying more attention to the allegations brought before them.  However, I have a HUGE problem with the recent sanctions that the NCAA has brought down upon the university.

First off, it seems ridiculous to remove Joe Paterno’s statue from the campus.  He was a huge icon for their football team for decades.  Should he have taken the matter more seriously than he did?  Yes, no question.  However, what possible good does it do to remove his statue, when he wasn’t the one who committed the vile acts?  You might come back with the whole “guilt by association” mentality, so I’ll not argue that point too strongly, but I personally think this punishment is harsher than his culpability deserves.

Next, the $60 million fine they’re inflicting on Penn State seems quite outrageous.  The money is reportedly going to fund an endowment to help child sexual abuse victims, which is all well and good–people who have lived through that sort of thing definitely need psychiatric help in working through the emotional trauma–but NCAA President, Mark Emmert, then said, “No price the NCAA can levy will repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims.”

Maybe the articles I’ve read have taken his comment out of context, but I always hate it when people say something like that, right before they sue some entity for millions of dollars.  While I completely agree that no amount of money can heal emotional scars, to fine someone such an exorbitant amount of money basically puts a price tag on what they just said has no price tag.  And, what if the victims use up only $40 million of that money?  Will the remaining funds be given back to Penn State?  Hell no, they won’t.  What if the “bill” winds up being more than the fine?  And what about people who might jump on the “victim bandwagon,” just to get some of this money?  Will there be some sort of checks and balances put into place to ensure it gets spread out properly?  I hope so, and they might be working on that now, but I still think it’s an awful lot of money.

The next two penalties–cutting 10 scholarships and banning Penn State from the post season for the next four years–I don’t have much of an opinion on.  I don’t follow football very much, and I especially don’t follow college sports, so I’m not sure if these punishments are fair or not.  I did ask Craig, and he says that these sanctions are “normal” when the NCAA punishes universities.

However, the last penalty is the one that seems the most outlandish to me.  The NCAA also decided to “vacate” every win that Penn State got from 1998 through 2011.  Again I ask, what possible good does that do?  Are they trying to further punish Joe Paterno, since he was the coach during that time?  If so, that seems wrong for two reasons: 1) Joe won’t be affected by that at all, since the man died shortly after all this was going down; and 2) He’s not going to be the only one affected by that ruling.  What about all the players of those games?  They had nothing to do with this debacle.  Why punish them too?

Again, I’m in total agreement with whatever multiple-year sentence Jerry Sandusky receives.  He was the one who did the dirty deeds, so he needs to atone for them.  Most of the other punishments, though, seem to not only be overly harsh, but also seem only marginally related to his crimes.

What do you think?  Do you think the NCAA is being fair, or even lenient?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaye george
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 09:13:48

    I think this case is being used as an example. I fear that this horrible culture may be ingrained and is being perpetrated in other schools. I don’t think the message is too harsh. I hope it wakes some people up into taking responsibility for the young lives in their charge. There are other cultures, such as abuse of women in the military, that need more exposure, too. Extremely harsh punishments MAY be a way to getting the attention of people who can change things. I hope so.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jul 27, 2012 @ 09:17:42

      If these punishments help to stop similar abuse cases elsewhere, then yes, maybe it’s done some good. I guess we’ll just have to see.

      Thanks for stopping by today, Kaye. 🙂


  2. Bette Golden Lamb
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 09:21:39

    Throw the rock in the pond and rings of water will continue to spread. An immoral act taints the whole world. In this instance, it’s the world of sports. Everyone of the factions you mention is guilty by association.
    Making any excuses for Joe Paterno’s lack of leadership is sickening. The fact they got rid of his statues is a hopeful sign that people still understand the consequences of actions, or inactions.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jul 27, 2012 @ 09:34:10

      Please don’t think I’m making an excuse for Joe Paterno’s lack of action. I’m not. He definitely should’ve taken the entire situation more seriously than he did, & I’m glad he was fired for not doing so.

      My largest complaint is with taking the wins away from the players from those games. I just don’t see what “good” that does, or what message the NCAA is trying to convey with that sanction.

      Thanks for chiming in with your opinions, Bette. This promises to be an interesting group of comments today.


  3. Dana Fredsti
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 10:08:58

    I pretty much agree with Kaye and Bette, but I also agree that taking the wins away from the players doesn’t make any sense.


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