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NCAA Sanctions Against Penn State Are Totally Justified


Last weekend when the decision was made by Penn State University to remove the statue of Joe Paterno at Penn State’s campus, as it was,  “....a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond,” I was not surprised.

hilary rosen

The decision over Paterno’s statue should be seen as an obvious call by the University.  

As I’ve asserted here before, the culprit of the scandal in Happy Valley was as much a collective error by the Penn State community as it was a result of Joe Paterno and its mentally ill football coach Jerry Sandusky.  

The community that not only let a monster roam the campus, but hold a highly respected position, and use that position to prey on young children - is equally to blame.  

According to coverage throughout this entire story, most specifically the whistleblower, Mike McQueary, appropriate reprimand of Jerry Sandusky hadn’t happened because of Joe Paterno’s ambivalence on the matter.  What McQueary overlooked in his statements on the scandal, was that by villainizing Paterno, he also created the illusion that many have accepted that Joe Paterno had some sort of “cult of personality” over all those in Happy Valley that prevented them from making the right choice sooner in the game.  

So in order to start fresh, and begin the “healing” process as the University’s head so chooses to articulate it, it makes sense that they would remove that image which immortalizes a man who should never have been immortalized in the first place.

The punishment of Penn State University by the NCAA, and the removal of Joe Paterno’s statue are appropriate, and now that Penn State University has an obligatory role as “the example,” other sports-driven collegiate programs should take this tragedy to heart.

William L. Jenkins, president of Louisiana State University’s program may have said it best, ““As much as I enjoy intercollegiate athletics, that whole sphere has become very, very powerful in so many ways on so many fronts, and one has to be very cautious.”

We live in a day and age where year after year, season after season, football -- college and pro -- continues to get more popular.  

It’s not even “arguably” the most popular sport in America, it IS the most popular sport in America.  Albeit, despite an increase in scandals among the country’s most popular and successful college football programs, and an increase in life-threatening conditions that occur as a result of impact at the pro-level, its popularity goes unparalleled.  

We love our football, and we love the leaders who turn teams into dynasties, and players into legends.

Blame it on my Catholic school upbringing, but throughout this entire storyline, the one line that consistently comes to mind is, “Thou shalt not worship false idols.”

Hopefully for Penn State University, no community better knows this obvious and simple law, nor should we forget it in the future.

Photo of Joe Paterno's statue being removed from AP

Contact Alyssa Bonk at abonk08@gmail.com

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