Penn State Sanctions: Fair or Unfair?

Penn State hit with massive fine, bowl ban and other penalties

Updated 3:06 p.m.

A day after late football coach Joe Paterno's statue was removed from its spot outside Penn State's stadium, the National Collegiate Athletic Association brought the hammer down on the disgraced university for its role in the sexual abuse of children by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The NCAA has fined Penn State $60 million, vacated all of its football wins from 1998 to 2011, imposed a four-year ban on postseason games including the Big Ten championship and bowl games, taken away football scholarships and put the school on five years probation.

Vote in our poll and tell us what you think in the comments. Are the sanctions fair, too harsh or not harsh enough?

In a statement from the NCAA, posted on the Plain Dealer Monday morning, NCAA president Mark Emmert said, “At our core, we are educators. Penn State leadership lost sight of that.” 

The vacating of 112 wins, 111 under Paterno, means that Paterno is no longer Division I college football's winningest coach.

Any current or future Penn State football player can leave the school and play elsewhere without loss of eligibility.

While it's not the death penalty, Pete Thamel of the New York Times wrote, these sanctions could hurt the football program for years to come as players transfer and high school players who committed to or considered Penn State reconsider their plans.

One local Penn State recruit, Avon's Ross Douglas, has already and will explore other options.

The Big Ten also brought punishment down on Penn State Monday, declaring that Penn State will not share in the conference's bowl revenues during the years Penn State is banned from postseason play.

In a statement Monday, Paterno's family complains that the sanctions "defame" Paterno, and that they were not given "input."

Kristen LePrevost July 25, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Seems like EVERY big college is tainted in some way shape of form...seems like the system is so flawed it promotes cheating., etc..but look at our professional sports teams..they allow druggies and murders play and we CHEER them...maybe it's OUR problem since we support these things...Penn State is taking such a hit because this was SO heinous...but no other school can sit in judgement...pot calling the kettle black
Chris (Kit) Myers July 25, 2012 at 03:05 AM
If any player knew about it he deserves being tried as accessory. I am not aware that any have been accused as knowing. Holding a whole university accountable for a crime, no matter how small or how heinous, seems to me to be extreme. Noone would say that the kids who were subjected to these crime will not be affected their whole lives and my heart does indeed go out to them. But this penalty is about the fact that staff and administration HID THOSE CRIMES; DID NOTHING ABOUT IT; ON THEIR WATCH! Had they reported it as they certainly should have, arrests would have been made and the perpetrators dealt with. Is not a university, as is any organization, a sum of all its parts? If one part goes bad, is it necessary to stigmatize the whole organization, including the thousands of innocents, to make a point? No, you make your point by dealing with THAT PART! You don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Jim July 25, 2012 at 02:59 PM
This punishment is completely appropriate. The cover-up at Penn State is symptomatic of a larger problem in professional sports: putting the sport over any ethical obligations, partly to save reputation, but mostly for money. Football makes a lot of money for universities, and it's sad to see the lure of money distract from legal and ethical obligations. As I've read the comments, I've seen a lot of complaints that the punishment has hurt the innocent. Of course it has. There is no way that the NCAA could target the punishments to the people involved with the cover-up. Even if they could, they shouldn't. The punishment sends a strong message that this sort of behavior is not acceptable in any university. No university should put money and reputation before their responsibilities. If the remedy to the situation was to fire everyone involved, I guarantee that similar situations would happen in the future. Unfortunately, uninvolved people will be affected by this, but that's the price you pay. As a side note, taking away the wins was the best part of the sanctions. If Joe Paterno knew about Sandusky's crimes and disregarded them in the name of football, he doesn't deserve to have a legacy.
Chris (Kit) Myers July 25, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Out of a university of thousands of staff and students a mere handful put money and reputation before their responsibilities. As far as I know, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a legal system to deal with criminals. This situation is not one of breaking NCAA rules as was the case at Ohio State. This is a criminal case, a blatant cover-up of breaking the law. Fire the parties if found guilty? No, sentence them to the maximum sentence prescribed by law. Prison time, my friend, will be a wake-up call for college presidents, faculty, and staff. It is not acceptable behavior in the hallowed halls of academia.
Leon Jackson September 26, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Suzi, I will agree with you that PSU is not the only choice but on the other hand the staff at the university had been told what was going on and did nothing about it. The students on the team had nothing to do with what happen and in a sense they are they ones who are being penalized by not being able to participate in post season play. It is the administration that should have had charges brought up on them as well as that scumbag Sandusky for with holding information and failing to file a police report


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