From an emotional standpoint, it’s easy to say, “Give the Penn State football program the NCAA death penalty.”
It’s easy to say, “Make the Nittany Lions suffer for all the pain and suffering caused to children by the previous leadership at Penn State by shutting down its storied football program.”
Sadly, that won’t change anything that’s already happened.
It won’t take away those sickening moments when Jerry Sandusky sexually abused young boys on the Penn State campus.
It won’t change the fact that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knowingly allowed his former long-time defensive coordinator to prey on victims in the same building where daily football operations took place.
It also won’t change the fact that Paterno’s so-called bosses at Penn State caved to his influence and his intimidation, and instead of contacting authorities about Sandusky, they allowed him to keep hunting, manipulating and attacking little boys for more than a decade.
The most productive way to punish Penn State for hosting and coddling a child abuser and for turning its back on the victims would be to take its money and use it to help Sandusky’s victims and pay for the fight against child abuse.
Penn State fans have responded to the Sandusky tragedy by donating more than $208 million during the last fiscal year. That’s the second-highest total in university history.
So it’s not like the school would suffer financial collapse if you forced the Penn State football program to donate all of its revenue over the next five years to the fight against child abuse.
One of the worst things about NCAA punishment is the people who suffer the most usually have nothing to do with the cause for the punishment.
Why make current Penn State players suffer for the horrible acts of a monster and for the selfish acts of four flawed leaders that no longer are at the university?
Allow them to keep playing and allow the fans to keep cheering as part of the recovery, but don’t allow the football program to profit.
Take the revenue raised by the football program over the next five seasons and divide it among all the organizations that either help to prevent child abuse or help with the treatment process.
If you turn Happy Valley into a ghost town on Saturdays in the fall, how does that help the young boys whom Sandusky turned into hisvictims?
For those who insist that Penn State should get the death penalty simply because it happened to Southern Methodist University 25 years ago for things that pale in comparison, Penn State would have a much easier time coming back to life than SMU did.
It actually might cause them more discomfort knowing that Penn State fans wouldn’t have football to use as a distraction or as a coping mechanism.
This isn’t to suggest that shutting down the Penn State football program would be a complete mistake, because taking away the team that financially supports all other sports teams at Penn State would send a strong message.
But so would taking away the football team’s money for at least five years. It would send an unprecedented message and it would send money to where it’s needed in the fight against childabuse.
What matters most is that punishment is doled out, and that some good come of it.
If the money from the football program is donated to fight child abuse, the Penn State fans would have the satisfaction of knowing they’re a significant part of the healing process because most of the money would come from them.
Sandusky’s extended reign of terror is a painful reminder that more help is needed in the fight against child abuse. The Penn State football program could help a great deal, but only if it’s allowed to keep competing.
Money isn’t the answer to everything, but it could help with the search for answers for why this tragedy happened.
Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or email@example.com.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football