The NCAA stepped up today and did the right, moral, courageous thing and whacked Penn State where it hurt: Their football team, their pocketbook, their history and their future.
The punishment also included the loss of some scholarships over four years and the vacating of all of the team’s victories from 1998 to 2011, but stopped short of forcing the university to shut down the football team for a season or more, the so-called death penalty.
Still, the penalties are serious enough that it is expected to take Penn State’s football program, one of the most successful in the country, years before it will be able to return to the sport’s top echelon.
I have zero sympathy for Penn State. That university entirely failed as an institution — football was more important than child safety — and today their reckoning has become them.
Some are concerned about the abandoned football players. I am not. The players have choices. They can stay and play for Penn State, or they can get up and transfer to another program without penalty.
The children Sandusky abused — and those crimes Paterno and Penn State covered up and hushed down for over a decade — had zero choice. Those kids were immorally acted upon and then willfully betrayed by the university. Today, Penn State begins to pay down their sin while the children can never regain the innocence they had before Sandusky first touched them.
The complete erasure of Joe Paterno from Penn State has also started. His life-sized statue was removed from campus over the weekend and, this morning, the NCAA removed all of his wins between 1998-2011.
Penn State said last week they planned to leave the Paterno name on their library — but I bet that wrong decision will not last much longer. I’m sure the reason the university is loathe to remove the name is because they’d have to repay the Paterno family for what Joe donated for the naming rights — but even if that payback fee would be $6 million or more — it is worth every cent to get that man’s name flayed from every public edifice and private façade of Penn State University.
History will not treat Paterno kindly in any realm, and to stick by that man now — even in name alone — can no longer be tolerated by the university because justice demands Paterno’s evergreen punishment.