This archived article was written by: Ryan Nelson
On Oct. 9, 2012, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison and a maximum of 60 years. The reports show that there were 52 counts of child molestation. Occurring between 1994 to 2009. A lot of these incidents came about from Sandusky’s youth football camps he held on the Penn State campus, for youth. Surprisingly this scandal went a lot deeper. There were many people involved with this within the school administration.
One of the individuals involved was head coach, Joe Paterno, head coach of Penn State for 45 years. He had also worked at Penn State since 1950. He knew of the things that were going on with the scandal, but did not come out publicly with it. Instead he went to his supervisor the athletic director, who then went to his supervisor. This was done accordingly to the Pennsylvania law which stated that, “any misconduct must be admitted to the supervisor”. Many people still were not pleased with Paterno’s reaction. They believed that he should have told the police and pressed charges, if nothing else was to do be done. Others involved with this were campus authorities, as well as those involved with the athletic program. In 2011, Paterno was fired. He passed away in January 2012, due to lung cancer.
After the story broke, a riot occurred near campus with about 4,000 non-students and students participating. The riot got to the point that there were news vans being flipped over. These demonstrators were there to support Paterno. About $200,000 in damages were done according to CBS News.
This is a terrible thing that occurred at Penn State and resulted in major changes and charges put on the school. Local organizations called for Paterno’s statue in front of the stadium to be torn down. There was even plane that had a banner flying over the school saying something on the lines of “take it down, or we will”. The statue was taken down in July 2012.
According to Reuter’s.com, NCAA gave a huge fine to Penn State in the amount of $60 million. This fine was given to go toward, preventing child abuse. The scholarships also took a hit from this; there was a total of 40 initial scholarships between 2013 and 2017 that were taken away. The school was given a five-year probation and also given a four-year post-season probation. One of the things that really hit hard was the loss of all the wins that Penn State had from 1998 to 2012, which was a total of 112. This meant that they lost their Big Ten titles in 2005 and also 2008. For Paterno the head coach, that meant it took away 11 wins off his record which dropped him from being second on the NCAA’s all time win list to 12th.
The Big Ten also fined Penn State $13 million. This was aside from the $60 million the NCAA already took from them. This money that is usually attributed to the bowl revenue, will now be given to help victims of child sex abuse.
These are all harsh actions that were given to Penn State, but none could amount to the so called death penalty. This is the term used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which gives them power to ban a school from competing in a sport for at least a year. This is the most severe punishment that a school can receive.
There have only been five times that this has been ordered. The first time this punishment happened was issued to the University of Kentucky basketball program in the 1952 to 1953 season. The second to the University of Louisiana basketball team; third to the Southern Methodist University football program. Fourth, the Division II men’s soccer program at Morehouse College. The fifth and final to Division III men’s tennis program at MacMurray College. The reasons for these being given to the schools range from frauds in academics to bribes for shaving points off of games. There have also been multiple schools that have come pretty close to receiving the “death penalty”, but were not issued it by the NCAA.
It’s pretty sad all this had to go down, but there had to be some punishment for the actions that were done at Penn State and also for all the others. Wish we could just say “Let the kids play”, but then again, these aren’t kids, and some things we can’t just let slide by.