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Penn State Scandal: 5 Possible Punishments to Be Looked At

Matt SheehanAnalyst IOctober 21, 2016

Penn State Scandal: 5 Possible Punishments to Be Looked At

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    Just like a football game, this whole Jerry Sandusky investigation was four yards and a cloud of dust. It happened so fast, no one really knew what was happening, but everyone had their guesses on what was going on.

    Now that the Freeh Report was released, the cloud of dust has settled and the whole world can see what was really on the bottom of that pile.

    The reports were ugly and they ruined reputations forever. It ultimately stated that head coach Joe Paterno, school president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz all chipped in on helping Sandusky's crimes be the mystery that no one wanted to see solved.

    The Penn State name has been dragged through the mud for almost a year, but the fresh reports offer some of the harshest details to this never ending saga. Millions have voiced their opinions and Nike has taken Joe Pa's name off of its child center, but that is only the first of many steps to punishing Penn State.

    Here are five more punishments that should be looked at to put the institution and football program where they belong.

1. Death Penalty

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    This punishment would be the most devastating and a punishment of this magnitude will bring out a lot of strong opinions. Some want the NCAA to step in and shut the program down for five years, some want the football team to be banished for life, and even a few want away with PSU athletics.


    Should it happen?

    I say nay. Even though these heinous crimes should be met with the hammer of the NCAA, who would it be punishing? The wrong people, that's who.

    Other than taking a boat load of money from Penn State for not having a football team, this will harm the players and coaches. This makes zero sense to hand down the death penalty because the players of today and the brand new coaching staff had absolutely nothing to do with these crimes.


    Will it happen?

    I say not a chance, but there are people out there that say there is no chance of them not getting the death penalty. Miami didn't get the death penalty for having millions of dollars of illegal benefits thrown its way, and that is practically what the first death penalty recipient, SMU, had going on.

    I know sizing up illegal booster funds to the crimes I won't even mention is comparing apples to onions, but it does say that the NCAA will probably never issue a death penalty ever again. And besides, I think the NCAA will see that they will be punishing the wrong people and stray away from this penalty.

2. Removal from the Big Ten

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    It's far fetched, but it still should be looked at. This is a huge embarrassment for Penn State, and there is no way that the head honchos of the Big Ten can appreciate this either. To have this institution still call themselves a Big Ten school after years of corruption might not look too good for the conference.


    Should it happen?

    If only the football team was in the Big Ten, I say absolutely even though it would lose them money. Kicking the whole school out of the Big Ten would mean that the basketball, hockey and every other sport would be removed from the prestigious conference as well.

    If kicking the football team out of the Big Ten was an option, that's when the debate could really start. For the next five, ten, or trillion years, people will associate Penn State football with the last eight months of scandal, and something tells me that the Big Ten doesn't want to be paired up with that either.


    Will it happen?

    I would have to vote no, but don't count it out entirely just yet. I'm thinking, and this is just an educated guess, that there is a less than five percent chance of this happening. The reason being that it would punish all the other programs, and it would bring the team count back down to 11. The second one would cost the Big Ten the most money since the Big Ten Championship would be gone until they find team number 12 again, and I don't see the Big Ten accepting losing money by losing a team.

3. Have Joe Paterno's Statue Removed from the Stadium

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    Right outside of Not-So-Happy-Valley's stadium lies a statue of the late Joe Paterno. As you could imagine, a lot of people want to see that monument removed from the stadium as soon as possible.

    What I find ironic is that the words "Teacher, Coach, Humanitarian" are written behind the statue. At one point, Paterno was all about those three words, but with the recent allegations most college football fans will not remember him for those characteristics.


    Should it happen?

    It pains me to say this, but if it was up to me I would have the statue removed by the time I'm done writing this sentence. For decades Joe Pa was a hero to the community and college football, but these eight months have set up for the biggest collapse of a hero I can ever remember.

    Penn State should try to remove as much of the past as they possibly can, and removing the Paterno statue would be a step forward for the university. I know there are some Nittany Lions fans that will never see Paterno in a negative light, and seeing the statue brought down would cause quite a stir on campus. But as the old saying goes "you have to do what you have to do," and taking down the statue of someone who turned a blind eye on this case is something they have to do.


    Will it happen?

    I say it's a coin toss, but the coin might be tipping slightly towards the "yes" side. As was said before, Penn State needs to remove as much of the past as possible to start a clean slate. Not only that, leaving up a statue of someone who turned a blind eye on assaults would make it almost seem like Penn State is turning a blind eye.

4. Stripping Joe Paterno of the All-Time Wins Record

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    Joe Paterno brought Penn State a NCAA Division I record of 409 wins. That's a ton of wins, but as we all know, Paterno coached more than a ton of years. Bobby Bowden, who had wins stripped from him at the end of his career, didn't say he would disagree about wins being shaved off of Joe Pa's legacy.


    Should it happen?

    Now that's a tough one. On the surface you can look at that penalty and think "How do these crimes help Joe Paterno win football games?" The initial answer would be that they certainly don't help him win, and he should keep the wins record. It's not like Barry Bonds using steroids to win a home run record, is it?

    Actually, when you dig deeper, it might be. Paterno covered up this scandal, and why did he do it? Did he do it to save Penn State from being caught in the headlines in the late 90s? Did he do it to keep recruits coming to Penn State instead of scaring them off with this scandal? Did he do this to protect the winning tradition of Penn State football?

    Possibly, and that might be the deciding factor for his record staying immune.


    Will it happen?

    Just like the thought above, initially, I say no, but deeper thinking tells me maybe. Joe Paterno's wins aren't the first thought that you pair up with this scandal, but once people really start thinking about it is when it could be a possibility. The NCAA has run the "Do you have institutional control and are you doing anything that gives you an advantage?" mantra to the bank, and hiding the case to save his program certainly sound like he was giving himself an advantage.  

5. Suspension of Booster Funds

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    Booster funds are a huge element to every college football team, and having them vanish forever would be devastating to the program. If the NCAA or Penn State were to disallow booster funds to be funneled to the football team for a year or two it would hurt them, but not kill them.


    Should it happen?

    People might be split 50/50 on this, but I don't think it should. In the grand scheme of things, it's not the strongest punishment in the world, but it is the safest to make. It wouldn't be detrimental to the team, but it would still be punishing Penn State to a certain degree. The only problem they run into is the "Who are we punishing?" question. Yes, it will hurt Penn State not receiving booster money, but it would also hurt the program that has brand new faces and players in it.


    Will it happen?

    Not only do I not think it will happen, I also don't think it needs to happen. Something tells me that a good portion of Penn State donors won't be throwing money at this team and university in the wake of the scandal. The hit they will take from alumni and donor feedback will be bad enough, so don't punish this year's team any further for something they didn't do.

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