Removing the Thorn From a Nittany Lion’s Paw
Congratulations to the Penn State Nittany Lions, on having their burdensome sanctions lifted. They have clearly earned it, having gone the last two years without covering up any more sexual abuse of children (to our knowledge). We shouldn’t punish the current student athletes for actions that they were uninvolv…
This is merely the last chapter in an complete and utter farce demonstrating the complete inability and unwillingness of the NCAA to come down too hard substantively on one of its premier programs.
Are we seriously supposed to celebrate how they “turned their program around” over this last two years? What, precisely, did we expect to happen? Did we expect them to cover up further sexual misdeeds the likes of which they covered up before? This is like letting Baylor off the hook because they went a couple of years without covering up players murdering one another.
“But we don’t want to punish the current student athletes for something they were uninvolved with…”
If you didn’t want to do that, you shouldn’t have taken away the wins of a bunch of student athletes who were not remotely involved with the coverup. Student athletes who, unlike the ones now we suddenly don’t want to punish, had no idea what was going on. The two youngest classes at Penn State decided to go to Penn State knowing full well the sanctions they were under – and what the school did. The two oldest classes have already left. Further, students who had just signed up to go to Penn State were given an opportunity to transfer penalty free, so if they’re still there they chose to be. I think there may be a class in there that fell between those cracks, and that shouldn’t be (because a part of the penalty should have been that any Penn State student athlete, regardless of sport, should have been able to transfer penalty-free), but one mistake need not necessitate another.
But even forgetting that, how precisely is it that they think that sanctions work? It’s not as though they didn’t know this when the sanctions were issued.
Personally, I thought then as I think now: The sanctions included stupid and meaningless stuff at the expense of real penalties. Vacating wins is stupid because the games happened and Penn State didn’t (as far as we know) cheat to win them. The lack of due process given to Penn State was troubling, and perhaps they should have reconsidered at the time. But having gone through all of that, there is no real reason to reconsider now. Considering how well Penn State has done despite the sanctions, they need to be thinking forward about how they can be harder on renegade programs, rather than worried that they haven’t been hard enough.