The NCAA brought down the hammer on Penn State’s football program on Monday morning, handing down penalties that, while technically not the definition of the “death penalty” – shutting down all football activites for a period of time – mostly amounted to a similar fate for the program. The combined impact of the fines, postseason bans and scholarship losses (which I feel will hurt the most) the Nittany Lion football teams of the next 5-10 years will limp into their future, crippled by the sins of those who were entrusted to live by a higher standard and guide them to success, and who failed miserably in those and so many other areas.
While I am usually in the camp of siding against punishing those who had no involvement in the original transgressions, like the sentence of guaranteed mediocrity given to those Penn State football players and coaches currently on the team, who were seemingly in the dark about the devilsh actions going on behind closed doors, led by their coach who preached morality and doing the right thing, all while ignoring his own advice in regards to what was happening.
There is no doubt in my mind that the punishment warranted the crimes. Crimes. The key word in this whole thing. Crimes were committed. Heinous, unrepresentable, inconceivable crimes. Crimes against the law, crimes against the powerless victims, crimes against humanity. They smashed the expectations of common decency, swept the pieces under the rub, and snuck away, hoping nobody would notice and they would escape scot-free. Their out-of-wack priorities gave more care to the image of their program and the men at the top, instead of those silent sufferers who were forever scarred by a monster who walked in the midst of those who could seemingly help, unnoticed by most and ignored by the ones who knew.
The NCAA needed to lay down the deterrents of all deterrents. They needed to strike down with the ferocity that would set back in line common sense of its members, and do all in their power to ensure that something like this never comes close to happening again. They owed it to those affected by this tragedy to prevent others from living a similar nightmare. Now we must hope it was not in vain, and this is the final chapter of a horrendously ugly chapter in history.