NCAA Gets an A- for Penn State Penalties
Baltimore July 24, 2012
Baltimore July 24, 2012
The NCAA brought down its version of fire and brimstone on Monday morning as they placed an unprecedented penalties against Penn State for its role in the worst scandal college sports has ever known. News of the NCAA's actions dominated the news cycle and transcended the world of sports sparking debates across the country. Did the NCAA get it right? Did they go too far? Did they not go far enough?
For years the NCAA has squandered opportunities to take actions against institutions that punished those directly involved or who were indirectly liable due to negligence for scandals; as their actions overwhelmingly impacted student athletes who had nothing to do with the misconduct. The NCAA's prior failures include; UMASS and Memphis vacating wins and serving postseason suspensions while John Calipari moved on to coach another team. Recent memory would lead most sports fans to USC receiving sanctions, lost scholarships, vacated wins and a bowl ban as new coach Lane Kiffin was entering and former coach Pete Caroll moved into his new role as head coach for the Seattle Seahawks without penalty.
In issuing a $60 million sanction, a four year postseason ban, scholarship reductions and vacating all wins back to 1998; the NCAA almost perfectly responded to the worse scandal in the history of American Sports. Moreover, the NCAA is going out of its way to not punish the student athletes by allowing Penn State players to keep their scholarships even if they decline to play football and allowing them to transfer without having to sit out. All of this of course will never will erase the pain this despicable tragedy caused the young people and families impacted but action was necessary and the NCAA's response was firmly appropriate. Finally the NCAA got it right!!! Well, almost...
Penn State University, Joe Paterno and most importantly Jerry Sandusky all share the blame and shame of this horrific tragedy. Now thanks to the NCAA they share the penalties. However, the NCAA fell short of receiving a perfect grade of A for its actions instead receiving a A- as they fell short in two areas.
College football season is right around the corner with training camps set to open up over the next few weeks. Penn State players who are lucky enough to find a school to add them to their squad this year will not be able to receive a scholarship as schools have already allotted their awards for this season. In its ruling that allows them to transfer without sitting out; the NCAA should have allowed other schools to increase their scholarships for one season to "take in" Penn State athletes who deserve and in many cases need those scholarships in order to attend school.
$60 million dollars is no small sum of money in any corner of the world and I applaud the NCAA for having the fortitude to boldly go where no one had gone before in going after these funds. However, I believe the NCAA could have sent a clearer stronger message by also going after the pensions of coaches and officials whom were connected to the school and football program during the years in question. This would indeed have been uncharted territory but, would have been the right thing to do in standing against the historic wrongdoing that occurred and was blindly ignored at Penn State.