How bad was the NCAA decision to not only punish the Penn State football program, but the athletic department and their educational system? The NCAA made the ruling because they were appealing to public outrage over the story. First, public opinion is never a good reason on whether or not to act on a case. When children are hurt, this topic becomes an emotional storyline, but we cannot let these emotions force us to make power grabs and ignore the legal system in our country. In the Sandusky trial, as in the case of other negligent Penn State officials, child abuse and the cover up of the crime is on trial and not Penn State football. One piece of information in the investigation that is often left out of the conversation is in 1998 the State College district attorney investigated and decided not to prosecute Sandusky when information about pedophilia was brought forth. The law had its opportunity in 1998 and they passed, but Penn State is now to blame. The NCAA blamed football and its big revenues for the problem. But Penn State was the only Division I program never to cheat in any sport. That’s right they are the only school to never put the profits of any sport ahead of education.
Let’s consider an example to show why the NCAA decision was bad. What if Sandusky worked for a fortune 500 Company that you were an employee? The company decided to put Sandusky in charge of its department that makes a product for youths. In his position, Sandusky was placed in close proximity with children. Senior management officials were made aware that Sandusky may be a child predator. Management decides to cover it up because it may hurt the company’s image. The only action taken was to move Sandusky to another role. Later, the media gets hold of the story and the Fortune 500 Company became the daily news storyline for 9 months. Under public pressure to punish the company, the SEC, uses unprecedented power to fine the company. The SEC fines the company equal to the amount of profit they received this past year – 60 million dollars. Also, the SEC refuses to allow the company due process to defend itself.
The loss of revenue forces the company to make cuts and even lay off workers. The company stock drops over 80%. The company loses over 100 million dollars in business because people no longer want to do business with them. The company’s image is forever tarnished. Even if the company is able to make progress and does not go belly up, the company is barred from campus recruiting and students do not want to work for the company. This makes it hard for the company to survive, let alone grow.
What does the Sandusky scandal mean to you as an employee at the company, even though you had nothing to do with the crime or cover up? You could lose profit sharing benefits, you could possibly lose your job, overtime will be cut, benefits and salary could be cut, and retirement is out of the question. Is this fair? Of course not, but this is exactly what is happening at Penn State.
Penn State’s reputation is forever tarnished. They will receive fewer donations, sponsors will drop endorsement contracts, and students will look elsewhere to go to school. Most people are being naïve to think the NCAA’s ruling will only affect the Penn State football program. It will force the university to make budget cuts in both education and other athletics.
How bad is Penn State’s image tarnished? I had a Penn State football t-shirt on the other day. People I did not know confronted me and questioned how I could be seen in public with such a shirt? They were lashing out at me, as if I supported the crime.
And for those of us who think the NCAA action against Penn State will stop or help child abuse in the future, you are sadly mistaken. Sandusky is one of over 750 thousand child predators we know about. It is estimated another several million exist. That is right nearly one of 100 people is a child predator in this country. And what’s worse they receive lenient sentences and over 80% end up back in prison for doing the same thing within 2 years. We spend more money on rehabilitating child molesters (and it does not work) than on rehabilitating their victims. Law enforcement and the judicial system dropped the ball on Sandusky in 1998 and they have dropped the ball on over 10 million Americans that have been abused as children. The blame should not be placed on Penn State students and alumni who are now guilty by association in the public’s eye.