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Penn State Penalties Were Right in Some Ways, Wrong in Others

In Indianapolis on Monday, as expected, the NCAA brought the hammer down on Penn State University. The college football powerhouse was punished harshly for the future, due to terrible events of the past. Someone other than the perpetrator of these heinous crimes had to be held accountable for the lack of decisive action at the proper time, and for the cover-up, which lasted over 12 years. Penn State University, as both a school of higher learning and a student body, will feel and suffer from the repercussions of these events forever.

Some of the punishments handed down early Monday morning seemed apt and justified, while others seemed a bit questionable. Penn State was fined $60 million over the next five years, and is banned from Bowl games for the next four years. Football scholarships will be reduced by 20 a year for the next four years, and every win from 1998 (when these molestation allegations were first reported) to 2011 will be erased from the books. Football players who are currently on scholarship will be given the opportunity to transfer, and other universities will be open to match those scholarship offers.

Hurting the legacy of the deceased head coach Joe Paterno is one thing, but basically killing the current coaching staff and Penn State football roster is another. These young athletes were similar in age to the victims of the accuser in this case when these events occurred. Most people, including the accused and Paterno, are no longer a part of the Penn State football program. Crippling this program now does nothing to change what happened in and around 1998. Still, someone has to be punished, and justice has to be served.

Paterno, although revered and respected, obviously turned a blind eye to what was happening under his watch. Protecting Penn State football from a scandal became more important than protecting innocent children from a monster in their midst. In the end, this scandal has become much worse now than it would have been in the latter part of last century. No one agrees with the unnecessary suffering endured by the victims of the past or the current students at Penn State, but its hard to argue that a harsh judgment was long overdue.