Jerry Sandusky Scandal: NCAA Needs to Make Example of Penn State with Sanctions

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2011

The NCAA certainly hasn't been shy about disciplining programs in recent years.

Pay-for-play scandals have rocked many institutions, including Ohio State, Miami (FL) and Auburn (although Auburn was exonerated in the Cam Newton case).

Essentially, if it has something to do with giving players improper benefits, no matter how minuscule they may seem, the NCAA is all over it. What is currently happening at Penn State, however, is far more egregious than giving some college kids a few bucks or a car to drive around in.

The Jerry Sandusky sex scandal at Penn State is something that will rock the entire university and the college football landscape as a whole. Despite how despicable the actions of Sandusky and also the university for failing to report his child abuse are, there is no guarantee that the NCAA will do anything.

In fact, the overwhelming sentiment at this point is that the NCAA won't discipline Penn State, since the matter isn't really within its jurisdiction. While that may be true, the NCAA seems to go to great lengths to find any loophole possible in its rules to punish colleges for providing improper benefits.

If it can do that, then surely the NCAA can find a way to impose sanctions on a university which has some of its top administrators being tried for perjury in the form of athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz.

Whether or not those administrators knew the full extent of what Sandusky allegedly did to a young boy in a Penn State locker-room shower in 2002, they certainly knew something happened, due to an eye witness account from then-graduate-assistant Mike McQueary.

Despite that, university officials decided not to report the incident to the authorities. Regardless of the reason they decided not to report the incident, the university was wrong. 

Now, because they tried to cover it up, the scandal is even greater than it should have been. Had Curley, Schultz, McQueary or even head coach Joe Paterno alerted the police, then the university would have been in full compliance and wouldn't have been held responsible for Sandusky's disgusting actions.

The fact of the matter is that Penn State officials successfully covered up alleged criminal activity that took place on their campus in 2002. It has finally come to light nine years later, and it is possible that Sandusky did the same to other boys while using Penn State facilities.

If the NCAA is willing to come down on colleges for actions that aren't even necessarily criminal, then there has to be a way for them to punish Penn State. I'm not suggesting that Penn State should receive the "death penalty" like SMU in 1987, but something needs to be done.

At the very least, scholarships need to be revoked, people in power need to be forced to step down, and perhaps a two-year bowl ban should be in order.

Granted, none of that would make up for Sandusky's actions, but it would show that the NCAA is truly committed to keeping college football clean, and not simply when it comes to monetary issues.