Penn State Needs to Shut Down Football

Todd McElweeCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 12:  A former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno doll lays on the ground before the Penn State against Nebraska football game at Beaver Stadium on November 12, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Head football coach Joe Paterno was fired amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Penn State is playing their final home football game against Nebraska.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It’s time to put a padlock on Beaver Stadium.

The findings of the 267-page Freeh report investigating the circumstances surround the Jerry Sandusky scandal show that the football program took precedence over the well-being of children—enough so that a sainted head coach teamed with school brass to cover up the egregious sins of a serial pedophile.

The details are simply too disgusting to print but cannot be ignored.

Nittany Lions football has to go away—maybe for a year, maybe for two. Yes, this is a vindictive punishment. But it isn’t an overreaction.

Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz all decided to look out for the best interest of a pedophile as well as the 106,572 who pack into Beaver Stadium during Saturdays in the fall instead of those who couldn’t protect themselves.

They covered up the unspeakably horrific crimes of a friend, and now their university and beloved program has to pay.

To its credit, Penn State was swift to remove the cancerous players in this most horrible of tragedies. Paterno and Spanier were fired on Nov. 9—the former died in January at age 85. Curley and Schultz both resigned in November and are awaiting trial.

However, it isn’t enough. The football program has to go away. Yes, it punishes players, coaches, students and fans who are just innocent bystanders, but it is the only way to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again in any place where football is religion and the head coach, a deity. It also allows a tarnished school to regain its once unblemished honor.

Sorry Penn State, you have to take the fall.

A year away would not only put things in perspective but also help relaunch the still reeking Nittany Lions brand. The program could donate a portion of its unused budget to child abuse charities all while building towards a triumphant return in 2013.

Let’s face it, Penn State wasn’t a contender this year anyway.  A year away won’t kill the program, but it will help in the healing.

Nittany Lions fans, however, need not worry. Don’t count on the school pulling the trigger and cancelling the year or the spineless NCAA, which could allow players to transfer without losing a year of eligibility or grant players another year of eligibility, to force Penn State’s hand.