Should the Penn State football program get the death penalty?

For the obvious reasons, should the plug be pulled on Penn State’s football program?

While it certainly seems likely that there was criminal activity going on (what coach Sandusky was allegedly doing, as well as the alleged lack of action on the part of the administration), the fact that it happened had little to do with the football program itself (though it could be argued that it was the power of the football program that allowed the situation to go on as it did).

I dunno. Sewing the land with salt sounds like some impressive needlework…


The death penalty is for football-related offenses. This really had nothing to do with the team. If, for instance, the same events happened in the Physics Department, no one would think to blame the team.

As horrible as it is, it really doesn’t have much to do with the institution of the football program. I see no reason to penalize the players and the (vast) staff and coaching team that had nothing to do with this.

I don’t understand people saying that this has nothing to do with the football program. Penn State’s defensive coordinator (a football coach) molested young boys in the locker room (a football facility). Sandusky was forced to retire (from the Penn State football program).

But he retained emeritus status at Penn State, including an office in the football facility and access to the football locker rooms. He continued to bring young boys to the football facilities at Penn State, and was witnessed raping a boy in the (football locker room) shower by McQueary, a graduate assistant in the football program (who is now a football coach). This was reported to Paterno (the football coach), who in turn (eventually) reported it to Tim Curley (the athletic director, who oversees the football program) and Gary Schulz (a vice president of the school, who helps to supervise the athletic director). Paterno, Curley, and Schulz did nothing to report the incident to the police, nor did they do anything to prevent it from happening again.

Ultimately, everybody who did anything wrong in this scenario is or was employed by the Penn State football program. It’s an institutional failure, not a series of personal ones, and this scandal has a lot more to do with Penn State’s football program than boosters who offer do-nothing jobs have to do with the programs of other schools.

Shut it down for five years.

It has nothing to do with the NCAA and NCAA rules violations

Oh, well if the NCAA doesn’t have rules against covering up felonies, that changes everything.

So if an English Lit teacher sexually assaulted students in his classroom the school should stop offering English Lit classes, even with new teachers?

Makes sense to me!

If the school wants to shut down their own football program, fine. But the “death penalty” as we know it is leveled by the NCAA against schools that repeatedly and maliciously break NCAA rules. Why would the NCAA have any authority in this situation?

We’re not talking about one English Lit teacher here, we’re talking about the entire chain of command closing ranks to protect a child rapist. If English Lit inspired that kind of blind fanaticism then I’d say the English Lit department is fundamentally broken too.

I wouldn’t suspend the program. However, I think that in order to start the healing the Board of Trustees should announce that the team will finish out the regular season but under no circumstance will participate in the B1G championship game or any bowl game.

Wrap it up, get rid of anybody and everybody that had the least bit of involvement, then reconstruct the program from scratch. That may involve a number of losing seasons but there are many other B1G teams that know a lot about multiple losing seasons and have risen above them.

It the Trustees were to make that announcement at least they may buy some slack from the other B1G teams. Yes, a lot of innocent players take the brunt of it but in situations like this there is always collateral damage. The ones that will make it to the NFL have already been scouted.

Oftentimes, the best defense is to throw yourself at the mercy of the court.

“Guilt by Association” isn’t a measure of any sort of justice, really. Neither the Penn State players, students, fans, ticket takers, hot dog vendors, parking lot attendants, or t-shirt sales people are guilty. Administrators and coaches are easily replaceable. Get rid of the allegedly offending parties and provide them with a fair trial and let justice be served. The NCAA already has enough to do - and does that badly anyway - so leave it to the PA legal system.

To me it sounds like the teacher who punished the entire class because of only a couple of students misbehaved. Why should those who didn’t do anything wrong have to suffer?

Obviously, there’s going to have to be some major changes, but shutting the whole thing down is ridiculous and merely an over-reaction.

The players and students (and fans) don’t deserve that. This was a non-football related crime, don’t punish the team.

If the NCAA refused to impose the death penalty after the horrifying Baylor college basketball scandal, why should it touch Penn State? If you can’t terminate a program who has coaches who pay players and then try to frame them after their deaths, why should you terminate a program who outside of failing to prosecute a horrific crime correctly has been the model of how a program should be run.

OK, but so what? The students, fans, ticket takers, hot dog vendors, parking lot attendants, and t-shirt sales people at USC, Miami, or SMU didn’t have anything to do with the infractions there either, but those schools had systematic problems and were punished for them. The systematic problem at Penn State dwarfs anything the NCAA has dealt with before*, including the repeated infractions that got SMU the death penalty. Let the players transfer without losing eligibility, and let everyone else go pound sand.

edited to add: * Yeah, I forgot about the Baylor murder. This dwarfs anything in NCAA football history.

The NCAA is a farce already, but are you really suggesting that they should they let a college sports program engage in a decade long, institutional coverup of child sexual abuse without any kind of sanction?

No, absolutely not. The players didn’t do anything wrong.

I’d probably cancel the remaining games of the season as I think emotions on all sides are running far too high. No good can come of it, I’m afraid. I know it’d be unfair to the players on the team, but its a safety thing.

Not yet. Fire (and where applicable, prosecute) everyone in a position of responsibility who failed to step up for what was right.
If there’s no active effort to have new leadership get to the bottom of things and punish the guilty (or if once you do get to the bottom of things, it’s even worse) THEN bring it all down.

(or, what **R. P. McMurphy **said…)

You missed the part where I said leave it to the PA legal system, apparently. People have been fired and are going to go to prison, not to mention civil liability for lawsuits. Justice will be served quite nicely, thank you, without the incompetent NCAA.