Sunday, July 22, 2012
Does Penn State really deserve the death penalty?
Word on the street, is yes. NCAA President, Mark Emmert has said that any punishment could be handed over to the Penn State football program as of right now.
The sex abuse scandal is one of the saddest things college football has ever seen. Penn State needs penalties, but how harsh should they be?
President Emmert needs to think long and hard, before handing down a severe punishment that could change Penn State football forever. If the death penalty is handed down, the Penn State football program could collapse, just like Southern Methodist University did in the 1980's. SMU is currently the only football program to ever receive the death penalty
SMU was once a prominent football program. That changed in 1987, when SMU football received the death penalty. SMU received the death penalty because they were paying football players to play for their school from the mid 1970's to 1986. These actions cost SMU their football program for 20 years, literally. They played, but they were no longer winning.
Before the death penalty, SMU won 10 Southwest Conference Athletic Championships before the scandal occurred. SMU wasn't allowed to play any football during the 1987 season. SMU could've played the 1988 season, but opted to sit out because that would include no home games and it would be impossible to win.
Football returned to SMU in 1989, but they only recorded one winning season over the next 20 seasons. In 2009, SMU returned to a bowl game for the first time since SMU had received the death penalty. Since then, SMU has made it too three straight bowl games, winning two of them.
While, it took 20 years to win again, the consequences didn't just hurt them on the football field. It hurt them off the football field as well. Before receiving the death penalty, SMU was in the Southwest Athletic Conference.The Big 12 was formed with teams that were in the Big Eight and the SWAC in 1994. They began play during the 1996 season. SMU didn't get to join, and moved onto the Western Athletic Conference.
SMU moved to the WAC and began play in 1996. In 2010, SMU began play in Conference USA. Now, that SMU football is back, they finally get to join the big boys again, they will begin play in the Big East in 2013.
Would this happen to the Penn State football program if the death penalty was handed down? Never say never. It's possible, football fans in the 1980's probably didn't see SMU football collapsing for years. Just like SMU, Penn State doesn't have much of a basketball program right now. Losing football would hurt in more ways than most of us will ever know.
Penn State tried to take care of the situation themselves so that the death penalty won't happen. Penn State, President, Graham Spanier resigned, and Head Coach, Joe Paterno was fired. Athletic Director, Tim Curley is currently suspended. Today, more was done, Penn State removed the Joe Paterno statue, but the NCAA has said, this is still not enough.
The death penalty would drag down the Penn State football program, community, and school as a whole.
Think about all the money that would be lost for missing one or more seasons. Penn State would also be forced to rebuild their football program from the ground up. As SMU showed us, it won't be easy for Penn State. Think about it, in 20 years, college football fans might be watching a documentary about the Penn State football scandal, their historic collapse, and compare it to SMU.
Do the current Penn State football players deserve this? They weren't around when this happened.
This years seniors don't have to worry about the death penalty, but what about the sophomores and juniors? They would have been a part of the Penn State football for two or three years by the time this sanction could be handed down. The players would have to move and get acquainted with new teammates, and a new community. Is that fair to them? The NCAA is all about protecting the student-athlete, right?
Of course, the NCAA has to show that they won't tolerate what Penn State did, but the death penalty would be taking it too far. Several seasons of a post-season ban and losing half of their scholarships for several seasons would be a suggestion.
Yes, it would hurt Penn State, but it's a lot better than receiving the death penalty, the current players could stay if they want, and still be able to play football. Those who may want to leave, should be allowed to transfer to any school they want and not have to sit out a year.
Those who want to stay at Penn State, would be able too, and finish out their collegiate career without having to move. These players have probably met buddies just like any other college student. State College is their second home. Remember, they have lives outside of football. NCAA President, Mark Emmert should really think about this. The death penalty is not the answer, it's just not fair to the players.
There are some dark days ahead for the Penn State faithful. Some type of Punishment will be handed down. If the death penalty is handed down, then we could see the Penn State football program disappear for a long time. They may physically be playing, but future generations will know Penn State as the Southern Methodist of their time. Maybe, in 20 years, they would appear out of the darkness, only time will tell.
POSTED BY: Conor Revell