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Bob Costas Calls for Penn State to Shut Down Football Program

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Bob Costas Calls for Penn State to Shut Down Football Program
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NBC's Bob Costas calls for Suspension of Penn State's Football program

NBC Broadcaster and Olympic host Bob Costas has called for the suspension of Penn State's football program through voluntarily action or through NCAA sanction.

On the July 15th episode of "Meet the Press," Costas called for Penn State to take voluntary action against its football program or that the NCAA would, saying,

"In the aftermath of the Freeh Report, the powers that be at present at Penn State should have the good graces to suspend the football program for at least a year perhaps more without the NCAA stepping in, but if they don't it is a pretty good bet that the NCAA will step in and render its version of the "Death Penalty" which is to suspend the football program for at least a year, possibly longer than that."

Many say that shutting down the football program punishes today's players and students at the university who had nothing to do with the scandal.  Costas' view on this was simple:

"Some will say this is unfair to the players involved, there is always collateral damage when justice is meted out."

Costas indicated the effect on the legacy of Joe Paterno was lasting, based on the findings of the report commissioned by Penn State's Board of Trustees,

"The Freeh Report makes clear that in some sense he (Joe Paterno) was complicit, in some way he was among those who enabled Sandusky, not only to get away with what he had already done, but to continue to victimize other children".

Some have questioned the NCAA's jurisdiction in this case, considering legal actions are already pending, On July 12th on NBC Nightly News, Costas was interviewed by NBC news anchor Brian Williams, where he described the NCAA's justification to act:

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
Costas sites report of Louis Freeh

"The NCAA has a term it sometimes uses when punishing schools for violations in its athletic departments, 'Lack of Institutional Control.'  If this doesn't meet the definition of 'Lack of Institutional Control,' nothing does. Now the NCAA says it will step up its investigation."

Shutting down the program affects average students, such as the band members who perform at the games, those who learn business skills by running the merchandise and food service concessions or students who learn public relations skills in the SID office. 

Others might say that the pressures to maintain revenues and donations to pay for athletic department expenses had a role to play in this scandal.  Perhaps alumni pressure to constantly win is a factor.  Some might say Penn State should try the idea of being a great university without the distractions caused by big-time football like the Ivy League schools do.

The criminal and civil trials and resulting prison terms and settlements will carry out the strongest and most lasting penalties. 

But who will actually pay the financial settlements at Penn State—the athletic department, the school's operating budget or the endowment or the tax payers of Pennsylvania?

The athletic department will likely not be able to pay off everything on their own, and the other constituencies will not be happy about taking a hit on funds designated for academic purposes. Sorting out the settlements could go on for years.

Penn State should offer to take away the glamour from its program for a long time, as the school and athletic department have a lot to be humble about.  No championship games or bowl games for five years, perhaps a cut in scholarships.  Take a reduction of, if not all, national television appearances, but continue to provide the game day experience to the players and students.

Ken Kraetzer covers West Point football and Iona basketball for WVOX 1460 AM in New Rochelle, NY.

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