I know it’s crazy to come out of a near month-long hibernation to talk about Penn State.
The issue is polarizing.
The NCAA just came down harder on the university than we have arguably ever seen, with sanctions ranging from money, to the loss of scholarships, to the vacation of every single win between 1998 and 2012. Players are being allowed to transfer to another FBS institution without penalty.
No one will have identical opinions about it, and you know what? That’s okay. It’s good, really, because both sports and life have become too much of a “I’m right, you’re wrong” type of conversation.
I don’t know if anyone can ever be “right” when talking about this issue. It’s too complex, and honestly too emotional. Opinions range somewhere between “Penn State didn’t break any NCAA rules and shouldn’t be punished,” to “BURN IT ALL DOWN”.
But, after having months and months to look at it, think about it and break it down in my head…here is where I stand:
I agree with every single person that says the current players should not be punished for the actions of a few powerful men years ago. It is not fair to the kids who just wanted to play football in State College.
But more than that, I do not think that it is fair for the current players to endure the s**t storm that will be the next 2-4 seasons. They do not deserve to stand trial week after week, answering a barrage of questions about the moral lapses men no longer there, ruling on an incident that occurred when they were 6-8 years old.
Each and every one of them deserves to transfer to another institution which can better serve their needs, both personal and on the football field. They deserve to go somewhere to just play football, to possibly even be the voice of another team…instead of an entire university and town.
And in terms of the program? I find it uncomfortable that millions of people will use Penn State football as a way to move on and forget about what happened there, when it was the size and strength of Penn State football that caused arguably the biggest coverup since Watergate.
I realize that if I were a Penn State student or fan, I would absolutely hate the sanctions…which will make the team the equivalent to an FCS school for at least five, if not 10 or 15 years. But at what point do you need to take a step back and realize that, sometimes, football can’t come first?
I realize that the penalties coming from the NCAA are ironic, since it is an organization that holds winning to its highest standard (both prestigiously and monetarily) and then penalizes teams for only caring about winning.
But that’s not the issue here. It doesn’t matter where the penalties came from, it matters that they happened.
It matters that Penn State won’t appeal.
It matters that it will be completely impossible for people to use Penn State football–the exact institution that covered these horrible incidents up for 12 years–as a means to move on from them.
The players deserve to leave, but the university needs to remember.