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Punishment For Penn State

A week after the release of the Freeh Report many following the scandal at Penn State are now focused on what penalties should be assessed against the university and its storied football program. 

Kevin with his son Brandon, hisfather and brother at PSU game in 2002
Kevin with his son Brandon, hisfather and brother at PSU game in 2002 (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

Again I might be the wrong person to offer thoughts on this as a longtime Nittany Lions fan and parent of both a current and former student.  However at the same time I and many others not only want Penn State to do the best thing in going forward but the right thing.  And no matter how I look at it I can’t see how shutting down the football program for any period of time benefits anyone.

Let’s start with the simple fact that nothing can be done to erase the horrors that took place for many years, some right on the campus that’s often known as “Happy Valley.”  The past is simply that and you can’t go back and correct it…all you can do is make sure that history never repeats itself.

Every time I hear some screaming talking head or read a column in which they demand “a message has to be sent” I shake my head in disbelief.  Don’t you think by now that everyone associated with Penn State has gotten and received the message?  From the administration to alumni this is a black eye and stain that will never fully go away even though it’s fairly obvious that only a select few had any involvement in the actions (or inactions) that allowed a sexual predator to prey on innocent children.

The general consensus seems to be that a cover-up took place to protect the schools image and football program which in turn allowed them to keep bringing in millions of dollars.  Therefore if you shut down football you hurt them where it will hurt the most…in the pocket book.

Penn State
Old Main at Penn State (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

However that will result in plenty of collateral damage as football supports every other intercollegiate sport on campus which all lose money.  Even more so you devastate the economy of State College and surrounding towns in Central Pennsylvania.  Those 7 football weekends in the fall are like 7 weekends in July and August at the Jersey Shore…without them businesses will close and people will lose jobs, many of them students who need to work to stay on campus.

If this is all about money than allow the school to devise a plan which would direct millions of dollars to causes associated with child sexual abuse.  Penn State football can’t erase the past but it can make a great impact on the future and help heal wounds far and wide.

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