Penn State University, a member of the highly regarded NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference, has been handed severe sanctions (are they severe enough?) from the NCAA in response to the university's multiple failures to protect children from sexual predator Jerry Sandusky. The penalties include:
- $60 million in fines that will go to non-university organizations that help prevent child sexual abuse or assist victims of abuse.
- A four-year ban on post-season play.
- Vacation of all wins from 1998 to 2011.
- Loss of 20 NCAA scholarships for four years.
- Permission for all returning or entering student-athletes to immediately transfer to a different university.
- Five years of probation during which Penn State must abide by the NCAA rulings or face further penalties.
Penn State Football
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So what does this mean for Penn State's football program? For one, Joe Paterno is no longer the Division I coach with the most wins. Also, the program is going to have an extremely hard time recruiting and retaining top talent over the next several years. And with post-season play off limits, athletes won't have a lot of motivation to win anyway. Many commentators have described the sanctions not as an absolute death blow to the program, but they are pretty close to it.
What these sanctions mean for the university as a whole is less clear than the damage they will do to the football program. Penn State's reputation has undeniably been tarnished. Prospective students, however, should continue to recognize all that makes Penn State a great public university: award-winning faculty, strong academic programs, excellent facilities, selective admissions, and world-wide name recognition (for the school's strengths, not just Sandusky).
Feel free to share your thoughts on this whole situation. Were the sanction too severe? Not severe enough given the despicable nature of the crimes? Use the comment link below.
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