Only empty outlines of football players remain on a concrete wall where Joe Paterno’s statue once stood. This image is truly symbolic of what remains of a tarnished football program. The focus on football has disappeared as heinous actions have reared their ugly head. It has been discovered in recent weeks that Joe Paterno and his staff at Penn State covered up the actions of Jerry Sandusky from 1998-2011. Countless young boys were molested by this serial pedophile, and this story has been a topic of much discussion in the sports world.
What exactly motivated the Paterno-led cover up? We may never know. Paterno passed away in January following complications from lung cancer. But this much we can be sure of: Paterno’s legacy will never be the same. He is no longer the all time leader in wins as a college football head coach. The NCAA announced today that it will bring down the proverbial hammer upon Penn State Football. Penn State must vacate all wins from ’98-’11, pay a $60 million fine, lose 20 scholarships, lose bowl eligibility for 4 years, and place their athletic department on probation for 5 years. All parties involved in the cover up may face legal reprimand in the near future.
The decision by the NCAA has sparked a debate among sports analysts and fans. Were these sanctions necessary? Some argue that this is not a “football matter” and that a “competitive advantage” was not gained by the cover up. Others believe that such a heinous crime occurring within a football program justly deserves punishment. We can debate this all we want, but the NCAA has made its decision. It’s now up to the legal system to charge anyone guilty of enabling Sandusky’s pedophiliac ways.