THE MOST worthwhile thing to result from the Penn State mess related to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is the plans for the $60-million fine levied by the NCAA against the university.
The fine is to serve as an endowment to serve victims of child abuse nationwide.
In addition to the fine, the other penalties against Penn State’s football program include a four-year postseason ban for the football team, a scholarship reduction from 25 to 15 for four years, a five-year probation for all Penn State sports and the vacating of all football wins from 1998 through 2011.
Vacating of those wins means that legendary coach Joe Paterno no longer is the winningest coach in major college football history.
Monday’s action was the second blow in two days for Paterno. It took less than an hour Sunday to remove his statue outside Beaver Stadium.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson said the statue “has become a lightning rod of controversy and national debate.” He also would like for the Paterno name to remain on the library as it “symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence” made by the Paterno family.
Removal of Paterno’s statue and the NCAA penalties follow on the heels of a report from the university’s internal investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh which determined Penn State leaders including Paterno, former athletic director Tim Curley, former President Graham Spanier and ex-Vice President Gary Schultz agreed to cover up Sandusky’s abuses. Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
The Paterno family, which also is conducting an investigation, referred to Freeh’s report as being equivalent of an indictment and an incomplete and unofficial one at that.
The family contends, in part, that Paterno’s legal counsel hasn’t been able to interview key witnesses and there has never been an opportunity to view critical evidence not made public. They described Freeh’s presentation as “obviously flawed and one-sided,” adding they think “the better course would have been for the university to take a strong stand in support of due process so that the complete truth can be uncovered.”
Paterno definitely should have taken stronger action when he learned originally of the abuse, but one wonders if the complete story will ever be known.