The Penn State football program learned their fate today, and the sanctions may have been worse than the death penalty.
NCAA President, Mark Emmert, announced that Penn State won't be eligible for post-season play for the next four seasons. Penn State will also only have 15 scholarships, instead of 25 for the next four seasons, and they will vacate all their wins from 1998-2011. The NCAA also fined the Nittany Lions 60 million dollars
With these sanctions, it's safe to say, that Penn State will struggle to win over the next few years.
What hurts the most, is the bowl ban. Every high school football player dreams of playing Division I football and going to a bowl game. Who will want to play, and not have any chance of seeing any glory? Not many will. The post-season ban will have a lasting affect. SMU was only banned from the post-season for two seasons. That's why, these sanctions may be worse than the death penalty.
The scholarship reductions will hurt Penn State for a long time. Football is a rough game, you need depth when it comes to football. With only 15 scholarships a year, Penn State will not have any depth.
At best, they will only have one to two back ups at every position for the next four years. To add to further insult, the next time Penn State will be able to field a full team of 100 players, will be 2020. It will take four full recruiting class to field a full team again, since you can't give out more than 25 scholarships each year. It will be a long eight years, for the Penn State faithful.
So was the NCAA fair with their sanctions?
Yes, and no. Kids were raped and lives were ruined. The NCAA had to show that they will not tolerate this happening. Therefore, if the NCAA wanted to do the right thing, they had to impose some sanctions. They have evidence that Joe Paterno knew about what happened, he chose not to go to law enforcement. Now, the student-athletes are suffering, but at least, they can transfer right away, and play at a new school.
In the end, the NCAA was a little harsh, they didn't need to vacate all of Penn State's wins and they didn't need to fine Penn State 60 million dollars. However, the bowl ban, and scholarship reduction was fair, and will have a lasting impact on Penn State and college football for a long time.
Many are saying that Penn State didn't break any NCAA rules and that there shouldn't be any sanctions imposed on them. Well, they have not broken NCAA rules, but, they broke federal law by covering up the Sandusky case. Compare, this to a kid who gets arrested by the police, they're already in trouble with law enforcement, but they will likely face punishments when they get home as well. Penn State is in trouble with law enforcement, and the NCAA, who is in charge of Penn State, added additional punishments. The NCAA had to do something, or their self image would never be the same.
Penn State will struggle to win on the football field for a long time. In the end, Penn State will survive, just as Southern Methodist University did after receiving the death penalty. It may take one or two decades, but that happens, when you try to cover up a child sexual abuse scandal.
What Paterno, and his staff did, by covering up the Sandusky case was evil. Now, it's not them that will suffer, it's the Penn State community that will suffer. Which is sad, because football is everything at Penn State. Today is a sad day for the Nittany Lion community. The NCAA had to do something, and it is what it is. Penn State will be back, someday.