Penn State Scandal: Twitter and College Football World React to NCAA Sanctions
Less than two weeks after the Freeh Report provided a wide-ranging, scathing review of Penn State's handling of Jerry Sandusky's actions dating back to 1998, the NCAA has weighed in with harsh penalties for the high-profile scandal.
Penn State has been fined $60 million and will be banned from postseason play for four seasons. The football team's wins from 1998 through 2011 will be vacated. As well, scholarships will be reduced for the next four years, according to Stewart Mandel of SI.com.
The news comes one day after the university decided to take down an iconic statue of legendary head coach Joe Paterno (via ESPN.com). The Freeh Report alleged that he played a key role in allowing Sandusky's acts to go unreported to authorities.
Let's take a look at some of the reaction to the penalties from around the social media and college football worlds.
One of the biggest concerns heading into the announcement was how current Penn State athletes would be impacted by the NCAA's decision. The Indianapolis Star reports they will be able to make an immediate transfer without any punishment, which makes perfect sense:
Penn State athletes may transfer immediately to any Division I school without penalty— Indy Star Sports (@IndyStarSports) July 23, 2012
Even though the program did not receive the death penalty, that hasn't stopped people from thinking the actual punishment will have the same type of crippling effect. ESPN's Colin Cowherd is among those projecting a gloomy future:
80 scholarships lost over 4 years. Program done. Rest you can overcome. Not that. Done.— Colin Cowherd (@ESPN_Colin) July 23, 2012
Washington Redskins running back and Penn State alumnus Evan Royster had a unique look at the punishment. It also shows that while the NCAA wanted to punish the university, others who had no role in the scandal will still be impacted:
ah crap... so i lost every college football game i ever played in?— Evan Royster (@Evan_Royster) July 23, 2012
Prior to the Sandusky situation, Paterno was viewed as one of the greatest college football coaches to ever stand on a sideline. Not only did his legacy take a hit throughout the process, but his career record also took a substantial hit due to the penalties, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
Because of 111 vacated wins, Joe Paterno drops from 1st in NCAA Division I Football wins to 8th (had 409, now has 298)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 23, 2012
In what should not come as a shock, a player has already decided to de-commit from Penn State. Greg Pickel of The Patriot-News passes along a report that states cornerback Ross Douglas will not become a member of the Nittany Lions:
Ohio cornerback Ross Douglas has decommitted from #PennState, per Bill Greene.— Greg Pickel (@GregPickel) July 23, 2012
Dave Zirin of The Nation took a strong stand against the penalties. He believes the NCAA overstepped its bounds by handing down the punishments, and that it will have a lasting impact that doesn't end with the current story:
Today marked a stomach-turning, precedent-setting, and lawless turning point in the history of the NCAA. The punishment levied by [Mark] Emmert was nothing less than an extra-legal, extra-judicial imposition into the affairs of a publicly funded campus. If allowed to stand, the repercussions will be felt far beyond Happy Valley.
A common theme among many messages sent on Twitter is summed up by Christine Brennan of USA Today. She says the program would have been better off getting the death penalty, and many people agree:
Former Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark had a simple message. He set several records during his time with the team, but his time at the school will always be overshadowed now:
This is beyond sad man...— Daryll Clark (@CaptainClark17) July 23, 2012
Current Nittany Lion Nate Cadogan doesn't appear ready to give up on his team. The tackle appears to view the punishments as motivation:
Psu vs the world!!! Day 1— Nate Cadogan (@ThaniBoy70) July 23, 2012
New Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien now has a much tougher job ahead of him to turn the program around. The NFL Network's Albert Breer summed it up best:
Bill O'Brien's situation just went from a very, very difficult to impossible. At least for the next half-decade.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 23, 2012
Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer has already talked with a Penn State official about the NCAA's decision, and his source's thoughts are crystal clear:
One college administrator on #PSU sanctions: "Worse than two-year death penalty."— Mike Jensen (@jensenoffcampus) July 23, 2012
Although this isn't a time for celebration in any way, shape or form, college football fans know it's a dog-eat-dog world. Upon hearing the news that players can transfer without penalty, opposing coaches are probably already plotting a strategy, as Audrey Snyder points out using a Big Ten rival:
Penn State president Rodney Erickson released a statement following the announcement stating that the school accepts the penalties and will continue working toward a brighter future:
It is important to know we are entering a new chapter at Penn State and making necessary changes. We must create a culture in which people are not afraid to speak up, management is not compartmentalized, all are expected to demonstrate the highest ethical standards, and the operating philosophy is open, collegial, and collaborative.
In the end, it all goes back to Sandusky. Penn State could have avoided this entire situation if his actions had been reported when those in power at the school had knowledge of them, as Jay Philips points out:
Reporting the horrible crimes and holding Sandusky accountable could've prevented so much of the trouble Penn State now faces. All so sad.— Jay Philips (@JayPhilips1075) July 23, 2012
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