Tuesday, July 24, 2012

GUEST POST: Reaction to The NCAA Sanctions on Penn State

This piece was written by Dan Ryan. Dan is a graduate of Quinnipiac University, where he majored in marketing and minored in public relations. Currently, Dan is a sport industry professional and is earning his Masters in Sport Management from Drexel University. From the I-95 crew, thanks for writing Dan!

into storage it goes...
The Penn State scandal has taken a mind of its own. As many sports related scandals go, similar to shark infested waters, once there is one drop of blood the feeding frenzy begins. Cue the media, the public, all lining up to take their own personal shot at the crucified remains of the Penn State Football program. At what point is enough enough When does the persecution stop and the healing begin?

Without doubt, some of the penalties handed down to Penn State make sense in my opinion. The $60 million fine going to programs designed to deal with victims of child sexual abuse (and the same with the Big Ten's decision to deny Penn State its share). The five year probationary period. All are just in my eyes.

However, the remaining sanctions seem to be as accurate as buck shot. Why penalize people who are guilty of nothing, the coaches attempting to rebuild today and most of all the student-athletes, who are supposed to come first in all NCAA-related deliberations? Reducing the scholarships to a near crippling point, removing all postseason play, all actions directly penalizing the people in place today that will be responsible for picking up the carnage left by one individual's actions and several others poor judgement.

As for erasing 111 of Joe Paterno's wins from the Penn State and NCAA record books, in what way does that bring justice to the young men whose lives will never be the same because of the horrible acts committed by Sandusky? What competitive advantage did Penn State gain from failing to act on an assistant coach who was suspected of child
abuse? The NCAA has decided not only to join the witch hunt, but lead it by tearing down the legacy of a now defenseless man who single handedly made Happy Valley what it is today.

Penn State's decision to tear down the Paterno statue is just another example of "a panicked response to the public's understandable revulsion." I understand and believe what Joe did and what he failed to do is unforgivable, but he also did so much good for the university as a whole, not just their athletics. No matter how deep the new, frightened leaders of PSU try to bury Joe Pa's legacy, the good and the bad, he will always be first in everyone's mind when you step foot in Happy Valley. Why not embrace that and let the statue serve as a reminder. By tearing it down it makes everyone forget the past. What we need to do is remember the past, no matter how painful the memory is.

As for the current and future players, the question is asked, Would you stay? The way I see it is this entire scandal, all the public opinion placed on this school, comes down to the question "if it was me, what would I do?" Well the public came out in crowds proclaiming had it been them they would have stepped forward immediately, they would've stopped Sandusky if they were Mike Mcquery, if they were Joe Paterno, they would've always made the right decision and never made a mistake. The only problem is we are all human, and none of us are perfect. Many of these same people are now saying leave PSU and try to avoid the darkest period in college football history, you shouldn't suffer because of the actions committed by someone else.

If we have learned anything from this tragedy it should be not to run from the problems that stand in our path, but confront them and move past them right now. To the players who have a decision to make, I hope they see the mistake Joe made in attempting to tip toe around the allegations rather than face them head on. PSU Football was built on pride. The players who take the field at Beaver Stadium over the next four years are not playing for bowls or championships, nor are they playing for themselves. They are playing to restore a legacy that took 54 years to build and just 9 months reduce to rubble. These men are playing for the healing and forgiveness of others.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, thanks for contributing Dan! Very realistic in the reaction. One of the ever-present issues with the NCAA is how they punish. They are always punishing the current system because of actions of the past. It's unfortunate because everyone knows that there's something wrong with how things are done now, but the solution to fix the system is extremely complicated. Could take a complete overhaul.
    As long as the money from the $60 million fine goes to a good child abuse cause, I'm alright with it. The bowl ban is peanuts compared to the other sanctions. Players go to PSU for the lasting tradition (we will see how that is effected in recruiting classes to come), not to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Vacating wins is always a go-to sanction by the NCAA, but does it really make sense in this case? I agree with your point on this fact, Dan. Could it have been to take PSU and JoePa's legacy (or what's left of it) off of its high horse? Seems a bit much. The vacating of wins is kind of an asterisk of sorts.
    Sorry I'm ranting. Like the insight. Finally something that isn't talking strictly from emotions. Thanks Dan!