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Are NCAA Sanctions Enough for Penn State?

University removed bronze statue of former football coach Joe Paterno Sunday.

On Monday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) handed down sanctions to Penn State University for its role in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of sex assault earlier this month.

According to an investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, university officials, including former head football coach Joe Paterno, knew about the crimes that took place on campus, but did not take action to report them to authorities.

The NCAA was expected to hand down "unprecedented" sanctions in response, including the possibility of the football "death penalty," which would suspend the program for a period of time. The NCAA decided against that measure, however, and ordered the following, according to espn.com:

  • $60 million fine to be put into an endowment for external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at the university ($60 million is reported annual revenue from football department)
  • Vacation of wins from 1998 to 2011 (112 wins, six bowl titles and two conference championships)
  • Four-year postseason ban
  • Scholarship reduction from 25 to 15 each year for the next four years
  • Athletic department on probation for five years 

Penn State University officials decided Sunday to remove a bronze statue of late football coach Joe Paterno

The 900-pound sculpture was removed from the exterior of the Penn State Football Stadium and placed in a "secure location," according to a report on cnn.com.

According to the cnn.com report, University President Rodney Ericksen said, "I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, coach Paterno's statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond."

Paterno died in January from a battle with lung cancer at the age of 85. He was fired by the university in November 2011 shortly after news of the Sandusky scandal was made public. He was an assistant and head coach at the school for 61 years.

Did Penn State University make the right decision to remove the statue? Were the sanctions handed down by the NCAA enough?

Hookerman July 25, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I think sanctions against countries, such as on Iran or Cuba, would be a more appropriate analogy.
TCG July 25, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I wonder if the victims who were sodomized in the showers while Paterno looked the other way for ten years think PSU received "the proper sanctions." The football program should have been shut down forever. Otherwise...if I'm the head coach at lets say Michigan or Ohio State, I know that no matter what goes on in my lockeroom, there is no need to do anything about it, because the totally corrupt NCAA will never do anything to kill the golden goose or my football program. So how do these pathetic penalties do anything to deter the future rape of young boys in other college lockerooms? They don't. It's a slap on the wrist and will do nothing whatsoever to hurt Penn State. The school is laughing at the sanctions, the victims and the NCAA which allowed the school to continue playing football on national television where they will continue to fulfill the school's only mission - to make money.
Irene July 26, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I was touring the Penn State campus with my daughter this past weekend when the statue was removed and the NCAA sanctions were imposed. My heart broke for all the current students and staff at PS - "the innocents" as one poster called them - yes, the athletes can go elsewhere, but they and the current/future students are going to be negatively impacted by the NCAA decision regarding scholarships, academics, etc. I guess it really couldn't be helped, but I'm just wondering if there could have been a way to avoid that impact. Very sad indeed...
Monk July 26, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I think it could be helped. Apparently, less than a half dozen individuals were responsible for the crimes and their cover-up. Can less than six individuals really be said to constitute the "culture" of Penn State's tens of thousands of students, staff and faculty, or even only its football program?
kenny laube July 27, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I have a few questions for those who left 111 comments. First are any of you Catholic? Secondly if you are did you rip Penn State apart and ask for all kinds of punishment and death sentences towards Joe Paterno and Penn State? If yes, my question as Catholic priests continue to molest young boys is there this much halabaloo towards the Pope and the Catholic church when the priest is found out?. The answer is I have never seen anything in print. It all gets swept under a rug or they move the priest to another parish. And then there are millions in payoffs. It happens at a college and everyone wants to shut down the football program and the school even . Can you say hypocritical?
Hookerman July 27, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I guess you haven't read this recent story about a Philadelphia priest who was convicted for concealing child abuse; http://ncronline.org/news/lynn-serve-six-years-prison However, I agree that there were too many years where the church failed children who were being abused.
Giants Fan July 27, 2012 at 08:04 PM
HobokenOwl, Been there, done that. There is no such thing as a recovering Catholic. Go through enough pain and heartache and you will be back to the Church. Two great writers were walking down a river walk in Northern Europe. You may know them. Tolkien and Lewis (Lord of the rings?) It was something they did frequently to chat about the world around them. One had grown tired of the Church and turned atheist. During that walk, one said to the other, "So how does it feel to be an atheist?", the other responded and said, "You know what, I miss him". Following that talk, Lewis became one of the greatest defenders (apologetics) of the RC Church.True story.
John Lee July 27, 2012 at 10:03 PM
C.S. Lewis grew up in the Church in Ireland and later was a devout Anglo-Catholic. He was not Roman Catholic. Both the Church in Ireland and Anglo-Catholisim are a part of the World Wide Anglican Communion. The American branch is called The Episcopal Church of the United States (the Episcopalians).
giants-fan July 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Furthermore, it is not a belief in Christian religion that causes this type of sin. It's the exact opposite. If it was not for the ten commandments, where would be? How safe would our families be? There would be no limits on what mischief we could get away with because there would be no rules to live by. It would be the wild west. Any comments?
Monk July 28, 2012 at 01:01 AM
HobokenOwl, getting a tax break is not public funding. Sheesh! You sound like Obama and his ilk who think that all the money belongs to the government and you should be grateful for whatever you are allowed to keep. John Lee, C.S. Lewis is really popular among conservative Catholics which is probably why some Catholics don't even realize he's not one. Anyway, it's a somewhat different age. I just don't understand how people are still so gullible and trusting when it comes to big government, when the Catholic Church and prestigious educational institutions have been exposed for their fallibilities.
Monk July 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Hookerman, in what way does a church's tax exempt status increase the burden on the rest of us? (P.S. I think the tax code should be flattened so that the bottom 50% pay a little, too. I mean, if you want to talk about who's creating a burden on the rest of us, you ought to consider those who consume services without paying for them.)
Hookerman July 28, 2012 at 05:55 PM
My comment is that your comment is nonsense. The only two commandments that are even forbidden by law are killing and stealing, which just about every religion has rules against. Secondly, the decalogue misses some pretty big moral indignities, such as slavery and rape, which were accepted practices during the time the bible was written. Therefore, based on the ten commandments, I can enslave my neighbor and rape his wife, as long as I don't use the lord's name in vain, or miss church on Sunday. Where would we be indeed!
Monk July 28, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Hookerman, I am impressed that you used the word "decalogue". But you should also understand that a lot of moral teaching is corollary to the Ten Commandments. See paragraph 2414 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on slavery (under Seventh Commandment). See paragraph 2356 on rape (under the Sixth Commandment). A lot of "former" Catholics only ever had a superficial experience of it in the first place. Their parents and teachers will have to answer for their failure to expose them to substantial Catholicism.
Hookerman July 28, 2012 at 10:29 PM
That may be true Monk, but giants'fan's post was not about Catholic Catechism, but about the ten commandments. One of the biggest criticism of Catholicism among Christian Fundamentalists is how much it diverts from the literal bible. Catholic interpretation of the ten commandments does not speak for all of Christianity.
Monk July 29, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Oh, I didn't see where giants-fan's post limited the ten commandments to fundamentalist interpretation. It's only "diversion" when one lacks the patience to trace the teaching through the history of doctrinal development. It's not as if slavery and stealing, and rape and adultery are completely unrelated.
Hookerman July 29, 2012 at 05:39 AM
He said, "without the ten commandments, where would we be? There would be no limits on what mischief we could get away with because there would be no rules to live by."... implying that the ten commandments are the basis for our laws, which is total bunk. And if you believe that to be true, and slavery is forbidden through ONE interpretation of the decalogue, then how would you explain why we allowed slavery in this country for almost 100 years? Can you think of any "mischief" worse than enslaving another human being???
B@B July 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM
I'm sorry, Richard, but blaming liberals for what has gone on in the Catholic Church just isn't going to fly. Same-sex marriage has nothing to do with pedophilia, nor does premarital sex. Child abuse has gone on in the church for a long tiime, long before gay marriage in the pill. What I'm gleaning from your post is that you long for a day when abusive priests and other pedophiles did what they did behind closed doors and their victims never came forward because society would have blamed THEM (whcih is still attempted, look at the things Mrs. Paterno said). Blaming liberals and "the breakdown of morality" in society makes it very easy, but keeping the abuse of children behind closed doors because it offends your delicate ears is reprehensible.
ThisMeansWar July 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM
You need to take a hard look at YOURself. Conflating Sandusky's mental illness with the expansion of gay rights is flat-out stupid. There was not the slightest expectation or implication anywhere ever that his conduct had become "morally acceptable." What bullshit. Moreover, if you really want to talk about the "conditions" whereby they fine folks at Penn State kept this under wraps, you will need to be honest enough to talk about financial incentives; not your beleaguered sexual politics. I get why you prefer the easier answers though.
Monk July 29, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Hookerman, you seem like an intelligent guy. OK, giants-fan didn't expound on the ten commandments, but can't you understand that law implies morality, and both law and morality require interpretation, and interpretation occurs in historical circumstances? Requiring a 3,000 year-old document to explicitly address modern incidents in their modern context is a little ridiculous. It seems natural to me that prosperity is required before savagery can be repudiated. Judging your forebears guilty of violating current moral standards is kind of low. Is modern day slavery permissible? Of course not! Was it permissible in other eras? Apparently, a lot of people thought so, and maybe you would have, too, without you modern sensibilities.
Hookerman July 29, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Then you’re debunking the same notion that you’ve been trying to support, ie; that our laws are all based on a set of static rules that were written thousands of years ago. There is absolutely nothing to support that. And it’s funny that you would mention the Catholic Catechism, since Catholicism was suspected in the 18th century more than Islam is suspected today. There is no way our forefathers would have turned to Catholic writings as the basis for our laws. Any student of American history knows that our laws have more to do with the writings of philosophers than religious leaders. In fact, dismantling the shackles of religious doctrine is one of the reasons we declared our independence from Great Britain in the first place.
Hookerman July 29, 2012 at 02:01 PM
There is a big difference between pedophilia and sexual orientation. How come when an adult male molests a little girl, we don’t blame it on the acceptance of heterosexuality in our society???
Monk July 29, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I think you're misunderstanding, Hookerman. From whence did philosophers come up with their ideas? No one pulls anything out of thin air. You have to believe that Enlightenment philosophers were aware of religious principles, and as far as there was agreement, the religious doctrine was not considered shackling. I mentioned Catholicism's Catechism to show how teachings on slavery and rape can easily be developed from the Ten Commandments. I never characterized the Ten Commandments as static, either. "For the word of God is alive and active." (Heb 4:12.) Also, the colonists and Founders certainly did not leave or declare independence from England as a repudiation of religion. Religious liberty was one of the most important rights in the minds of the colonists and Founders. It seems like you are trying to dismiss the importance of the Ten Commandments for no good reason. You can appreciate the Ten Commandments and still not practice any religion.
Hookerman July 29, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I'm not trying to dismiss the importance of the ten commandments, I'm dismissing the notion that our laws are based on them. You've shown nothing in this thread to support that notion at all. You've totally ignored my earlier comment that the majority of the commandments are not even illegal, and in fact, any laws based on them would be unconstitutional. In that respect, someone can just as easily argue that our laws are contrary to the ten commandments. Our founders did not repudiate religion, they repudiated the marriage of religion and government, as was the case with parliament and the church of England. Attempting to base the government on a single religion would have been impossible because of the diversity of religious beliefs. Prior to certain opinions, the forefathers did not have one single religious belief. They had quite a variance of beliefs, some so radical that it would probably be impossible for them to be elected today
Monk July 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
James Madison wrote, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” Hookerman, I'll cede that the Left in the United States of America is furiously chopping away at the roots of our culture and our laws, if that is your point.
Hookerman July 29, 2012 at 11:34 PM
And George Washington said; "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion." But I thought you were smart enough to know that random quotes from forefathers are meaningless. I also thought you were smart enough not to turn this into yet another clichéd political debate. Guess I was wrong.
jfield July 30, 2012 at 12:08 AM
The statues should be melted and turned into a plaque that says "God forgive us for betraying your children".
Frank Santagata July 30, 2012 at 12:48 AM
The student football players had nothing do with the crime, why punish them by sanctioning the football team. They students worked hard to be accepted into Penn State and play football at the school and should not be included in the punishment. They should be allowed to play and all their records and achievements should still be included in the record books, however all profits from the games and the football program should be used to start a fund for abused and neglected children, provide scholarships for the abused players children and fund a program centered on preventing abuse in the future. It would punish the school and not the players and seems to be a fair and just way to provide for the future.
Monk July 30, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Hookerman, I don't agree with you on the irrelevance of Christianity vis-a-vis the founding of our nation. That is all.
Concerned July 30, 2012 at 01:06 AM
the punishment of PSU is a gift to the players as it allows them to transfer to other Universities with football programs.
Ridgewood Dad August 31, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Why you guys gotta rip on the Tickle Monster? He's nice a guy, and has a big heart. As well as a large penile instrument. He and I go way back, exploring the wonders of the human body back in highschool. Gotchu jerr bear

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