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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NCAA’s Penn State penalties were harsh, but not harsh enough

The NCAA came down on Penn State Monday with harsh penalties as expected. Penn State was fined $60 million by the NCAA, will lose 90 scholarships over the next five seasons, and is facing a postseason bowl ban for the next four years.

This was the NCAA’s chance to show its toughness when in reality it is a powerless organization that exists to profit off the big business of college basketball and college football. The organization dropped the news on a Monday morning ensuring it would be the most talked about story throughout the day. The NCAA figured it would receive pats on the back for levying punishments that make the organization seem powerful, and it did. But they still didn’t do enough, and it was by intention.

While some have argued that the penalties against Penn State essentially will kill the program for the next handful of years, the NCAA missed an opportunity to do something bigger: prevent the program from playing games for years.

Scholarship players or not, Penn State will still be able to field a football team and compete in the Big Ten. Season ticket sales for the football program are up. Joe Paterno merchandise is still in demand. Students, alumni, and fans will still be attending games and demanding that the team wins. Some players still say they support Joe Paterno and only view the penalties as a “distraction.”

How are the penalties changing the mindset of those in State College? What has the NCAA done to help change the culture at Penn State? I don’t see a whole lot.

Penn State needed football stripped from them. They needed time to reevaluate the importance of football in their lives. They needed a sweeping change in mentality, and they need to understand why this is such a big deal. Having no football on campus for years would have accomplished that.

Because of the postseason bowl bans and the Big Ten refusing to share television revenue with Penn State, the university won’t profit off the program like it has in past years, but the support for the program won’t be much different. That’s where the NCAA missed an opportunity, but hey, they’re not in the business of ruining their business by canceling games, are they? Of course not, because money is important to them too, just like it was to the Penn Staters that decided protecting the cash cow was more important than protecting the kids.



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