Penalties for Penn State

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation and host of "Edge of Sports Radio" on Sirius XM, explains the NCAA penalties against the Penn State football program and what it could mean for the future of the school. 

The list of penalties imposed by the NCAA on Penn State

• A $60 million fine, with the proceeds going to an endowment fund for victims of sexual abuse

• A four-year bowl ban

• All Penn State victories from 1998-2011 are vacated – stripped from the record books

• A reduction of annual scholarships, with current players will be permitted to transfer and have immediate eligibility elsewhere

• And a five-year probationary period in which the university will have to work with an NCAA monitor to ensure ethical conduct


Dave Zirin

Comments [14]

rachel leinweber from Brooklyn, NY

Thank goodness that someone sane actually made SURE there is some truly meaningful statement AGAINST people who support their (football) teams regardless of anything horrible the folks in power may be doing!

What is shocking to me is that so many people are still arguing about these penalties against the University, and that these same people seem to believe that above all else, to FOOTBALL and Paterno be true ! ?? Can they be serious?

So many children and lives harmed so seriously! And, so many adults in close proximity who could have stood and helped and protected these children! So few people at PENN STATE who were evidently willing to try to stop the abuse and madness all in the name of FOOTBALL. (and $$$?)

Such a shame we would have to hear now from people who seem to believe these punitive measures are too harsh! How can they be (too harsh) ? ! Imagine that ANY of these kids who were abused, attacked, sexually molested, that ANY of these children were your own???

THANKS to all who actually made the punishment (at least) harsh enough to make PENN STATE as an institution consider the consequences of defending criminals and people who are sick and abusive!

Jul. 24 2012 05:41 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I disagree with John, though. The individuals who committed the crimes need to be punished, but they institution didn't commit the crime, and shouldn't be weakened. That would only be the case if the institution was positively promoting an evil, which it isn't.

Jul. 23 2012 09:33 PM

I agree with the comment about collective punishment. The NCAA also seems to be overreacting in order to cover its own butt -- and that of other programs.

Where is this kind of strong action for schools which have covered up student athletes' sexual attacks against other students?

I, somewhat cynically, found myself wondering if Freeh would have come down so hard on Paterno had Paterno still been alive and able to defend himself and explain his actions or otherwise contradict Freeh's conclusions.

This reminds me quite a bit of how the lower/lowest echelon soldiers were made to pay for the Abu Ghraib torture scandals (or was it really the "photo scandals"?). Iirc, there were a couple higher up internal whistle blowers who tried to bring this to the attention of their commanders -- and essentially were punished for leaving paper trails showing the command did know and did little to nothing.

Jul. 23 2012 11:01 AM
kevin from upper LS


excuse me,but why does it have to be either or. and, how is pointing out institutional foibles, pontificating? it's better to focus on one specifc aspect,and flush it out;than just give us scatter shot superficiality, or more of the same, vague and general.

Jul. 23 2012 10:45 AM
kevin from upper LS

the big money is still there,dave zirin is right. the NCAA,is a moral joke. the basic monetary structure of college football, does not change. this is just so much, PR window dressing.

Jul. 23 2012 10:36 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Okay, so what penalties should the school and sports program suffer, and what body should administer them? This is the issue at hand and the guest should address it instead of just pontificating about NCAA incredibility, however valid.

Jul. 23 2012 10:35 AM

These penalties will make others who see something think twice before they consider not saying something. the dollar penalty should have been hire and on-going for a decade.

Jul. 23 2012 10:34 AM

It’s my understanding that the school agreed to the NCAA punishment

Jul. 23 2012 10:33 AM
Jenna from UES

I completely disagree with your guest. For certain Penn State money was spent wrongfully and used to perpetuate these molestation. Money was also spent covering this up.

Jul. 23 2012 10:32 AM

if this guy doesn't believe in the NCAA why is he even a guest. it's like having a nutrition discussion with a carpenter. Next!

Jul. 23 2012 10:32 AM

Why does this guy Dave Zirin laughing? This is not funny!! What the NCAA did is fine, but the yes, there should be more changes to the entire sports college culture.

Jul. 23 2012 10:31 AM

This is cruel and unusual collective punishment just because the coach covered up the actions of one pervert. So you punish the whole school/ And throw away all the hard work and achievements of the athletes? This is the petty left wing academics getting at football. I am no sports fan, football or otherwise, but I think this is unjust and will not stand anyway.

Jul. 23 2012 10:31 AM
Vicki Madden from Brooklyn

What does this have to do with football? It was Penn State's obsession with football success that influenced the leaders to overlook and hide Jerry Sandusky's actions.

Jul. 23 2012 10:29 AM
John from NYC


Sorry this is a bit long, so here is a summary: Penn Sate football became so powerful that outside correctives were ineffective. The Catholic Church sex abuse scandals provide a parallel example. The solution is to weaken the offending organization and strengthen the outside correctives.

- Bad things can happen in any organization.

- Organizations have internal policies to address bad things, but powerful people and/or interests can sometimes overcome/subvert those policies.

- At that point we rely on outside forces to intervene. A government agency (if the organization itself is not government—if it is, an agency in another branch of government), the press, etc.

- But sometimes an organization whose internal policies to address bad things is also so powerful that it can also thwart outside forces.

That is what happened with the child sex scandals in the Catholic Church. Its internal policies did not work.

And, in many locations, the Catholic Church was so powerful it could thwart key outside forces. For example, in New York in the 1930s through the 1960s the Catholic Church could tell the government to back offsince it could deliver Catholic voters as a block, and it could dictate to the press, since it could threaten that the major department stores would pull their adds if the newspapers did not toe the line.

Same problem at Penn State. Penn State.

The NCAA sanctions are a joke. They do not address the problem.
1. The power of football at Penn State has to be reduced. A four year suspension of all football might get their attention. And it might embolden those with other complaints against the football program (who knows what other problems there might be) to come forward.

2. A couple billion dollars in liability lawsuits. That got the attention of the Catholic Church. Didn’t completely solve the problem, but did get their attention.

3. The power of the OUTSIDE forces has to be increased:

- Penn State is a state school. The state legislature and/or governor should appoint a special overseer.

- Since the local police and DA are powerless against Penn State football, the Pennsylvania state attorney general needs to open an office in the town, and/or the United States Department of Justice needs to establish a presence there.

- The Pennsylvania State Troopers need to establish a presence there so there is an alternative to the Penn State police and the local police to go to.

- And since the local press is powerless against Penn State football, the Philadelphia newspapers (what’s left of them) need to establish a presence there so there is someone there who is not under the thumb of Penn State football to whom one can turn.

Jul. 23 2012 10:28 AM

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