The Cullman Times
Penn State’s heralded football program has been dealt a crushing blow by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Everyone in “Happy Valley,” the beloved nickname of Penn State’s home base in State College, Penn., is bracing for decreased attendance at games and the overall loss of enthusiasm that comes with a deeply tarnished football program.
The $60 million fine handed out by the NCAA, along with decreased scholarships, four years of bowl bans, and the erasing of 111 victories of idolized coach Joe Paterno all sting the university. But it will also be a disruption to the community that relies so heavily on Penn State for generating business. Some people think even those sanctions are too light. The most adamant critics of a football program that allowed child abuse to go unchecked for years would like to see the football program killed. It’s difficult to argue against either point of view.
Pounding Penn State with fines and sanctions is unquestionably the right move from the NCAA. If the organization had chosen to impose the death penalty on the program, that, too, would be appreciated. The offenses against the young people during visits to the university’s athletic facilities, even after the problem was reported, is nothing short of an American horror story. A program that was supposed to be devoted to building winners and young men of character, was hypocritically allowing unprecedented abuse to occur just beneath the surface of its golden image.
A disturbing point in this heinous story is the NCAA. The governing agency of big-time college football in the United States sounded high and mighty as it rubbed the remainder of Penn State’s pride into the dirt. But considering the atrocious actions that occurred at Penn State, it’s important to ask how well informed is the NCAA about the great empires it is supposed to govern.
College football stands as a golden idol in American society, but other than the thrill of victory on a Saturday afternoon what deep value does it hold for Americans? Judging by the long, unchecked crimes at Penn State, not much.