Share This Page

Easing Penn State's sanctions is the exact wrong message

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

With three former top Penn State officials awaiting trial on charges of covering up convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky's horrific predations, easing NCAA sanctions on the football program makes a mockery of those penalties and their ostensible purpose of righting priorities that put gridiron glory ahead of children's victimization.

Indeed, the Penn State conduct alleged in the Freeh report — including that of former President Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz — was so egregious that the football program deserved the NCAA's “death penalty,” which the university avoided by agreeing to unprecedented sanctions without contesting them.

Yet now, the NCAA is easing sanctions that apply directly to the football program at the behest of former Sen. George Mitchell, its independent athletics integrity monitor for Penn State.

“While there is more work to be done, Penn State has clearly demonstrated its commitment to restoring integrity in its athletics program,” said Mr. Mitchell in announcing restoration of some football scholarships. That would enable Penn State to again award the one-season maximum of 25 by 2015-16 and the full-roster maximum of 85 by 2016-17.

But so long as Penn State has “more work to be done,” the NCAA has no business helping refuel Happy Valley's football-first mentality. Easing these sanctions now sends the message that Penn State's failure regarding Mr. Sandusky really wasn't that big a deal — and that Nittany Lions football remains the biggest deal of all.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.