Now that all of Pennsylvania's other problems have been solved, the state is suing the NCAA
At least, that's what I would assume, now that the state is suing the NCAA over sanctions against the Penn State football team that PA governor Tom Corbett is saying are unfair, inappropriate, and even illegal.
Last year, Corbett seemed to be ok with the sanctions. In July, he said that it was the correct measure, and expressed a desire to move on.
Now, in January of 2013, he has apparently changed his mind drastically enough that the state is suing the NCAA.
To review... the sanctions are as follows:
$60M fine (which will go to child abuse prevention causes)
4 year postseason ban (1 of which has already been served)
Loss of 10 scholarships per year
5 years probation
While those are among the toughest sanctions ever handed down in NCAA history, let's face it. They're not THAT bad. Particularly when you consider the fact that it all stemmed from a man who used the university's football program to facilitate the rape of dozens of young boys, and then it was systematically covered up for at least a decade (possibly more) by individuals up to and including the university president and the head football coach.
When you stop and think for a moment, it actually makes sense that their punishment should be worse than, for example, SMU's death penalty that they suffered for paying players.
It's pretty obvious that this is nothing short of a political play to the people of Pennsylvania by Corbett, who will be up for reelection in 2 years.
Penn State agreed to the sanctions imposed by the NCAA, and the school itself is playing no role whatsoever in this lawsuit. This is purely a move on the part of Corbett, who knows that many Pennsylvania residents still harbor serious bitterness against the NCAA for what they felt was an excessive punishment.
One of Corbett's main arguments is that Penn State didn't actually break any NCAA rules, so they shouldn't be sanctioned by the NCAA. They should only receive punishments in criminal court, because it was a criminal issue.
While I understand the basic premise, it's seriously flawed. Much like the state of Pennsylvania has no business suing the NCAA over a disgraced college football program, the American justice system shouldn't have to bother with such nonsense.
The courts sentenced Sandusky, and that's their job. It's the NCAA's job to take care of Penn State, since it's clear that the nature of the football program played a huge role in the cover-up of the crime. Something had to be done, and that's why the NCAA did what they did.
Was it really excessive?
This is an important question. Let's go back to the punishment, and look at how it stacks up.
The $60M fine will go to child abuse prevention grants. At least 25% of that money will stay in the state of Pennsylvania. If you really have a problem with that, particularly considering all the money that the football program has made over the years and the atrocity of the crimes that were committed there, then I really don't know what to tell you.
The 5 years of probation is irrelevant. Probation only matters if you screw up again. And if they do, they deserve to have the book thrown at them again. I assure you that head coach Tom O'Brien will make sure that doesn't happen. So the probation doesn't even matter.
The 5 year bowl ban is a bit painful, yes. Bowl games are a boon to schools, giving them a nice little multi-million dollar bonus at the end of the season. So this is pretty harsh, and it's one thing the fans are griping about the most. But let's be honest: For the fans, it's just one game per year. If you're REALLY passionate about Penn State football, there are still 12 more games that you can enjoy every year. And in 5 years, the bowl games and conference championship games will be back.
The scholarship losses are an extremely harsh penalty as well. It makes it a lot harder for them to bring in top notch recruits, and obviously means there will be 10 less players who can go to school for free, just to play football.
That having been said, is it really that harsh? Yes, the team won't be as good for a few years. Yes, it'll be harder to attract top-level talent. But is that really the end of the world? They'll still recruit better than most non-BCS schools.
The Bottom Line:
This lawsuit makes the state of Pennsylvania look bad.
It makes Penn State look bad, because even though they're not behind it, everyone will associate it with them.
This political charade needs to stop. But it won't, because Penn State is more than just a school. It's more than just a football team. It has become a religion, where people worship every Saturday in the fall.
Much like many other religions, people are now resorting to completely irrational and emotional reactions to something that has no place for emotion and irrationality.
The NCAA did the right thing, and Penn State agreed to the sanctions. It should end there.