Should Penn State University get the "death penalty" from the NCAA?
Has the level of corruption and coverup over the sexual abuse of children by a one-time assistant football coach risen to such a high level at Penn State as to warrant the termination of the football program and placing on probation the university's other sports?
With the university president, vice president, athletic director and head football coach named in a third-party investigation by the former head of the FBI as having knowledge of the offenses for up to 14 years before the scandal finally broke, should the university cut all ties with any and all those named?
Should Penn State remove the former head football coach's name from the university library and remove his statue from in front of the football stadium?
Conversely, if the NCAA levies the "death penalty" to the PSU football program, who really would suffer - the university, the alumni or the members of the team who had nothing to do with the scandal but would be denied their opportunity to play football on a scholarship, gain a college education and a possibly a NFL career?
Joe Paterno's family is denying the findings of special investigator Louis Freeh, the former director of the FBI, of the late football coach and ranking PSU administrators concealing the abuses of convicted felon Jerry Sandusky to shield the university from bad publicity.
Sandusky is awaiting sentencing on 45 counts of abusing 10 boys, some of that while on the university campus and in the football locker room showers.
Freeh, who was hired by the university's trustees, cited emails and handwritten notes in concluding Paterno stopped a plan by three PSU officials to report allegations in 2001 against Sandusky to child welfare authorities. The report also documents two emails that indicate Paterno knew about an allegation in 1998 against Sandusky, his then-defensive coordinator.
Freeh said Paterno and the other three officials, including ousted Penn State President Graham Spanier, exhibited "callous and shocking" disregard for child victims, according to an AP report.
The Paterno family, pledging its own investigation, understandably is defending the Hall of Fame coach in the scandal that cost Paterno his job and has seriously damaged his public image and coaching legacy.
What should the punishment be against the university for apparently knowing and covering up the conduct of one of its own assistant coaches? What penalty will be severe enough to guarantee such actions are never again duplicated at any other university?
Certainly there will be financial ramifications in lawsuits filed against the university, but will the settlement of those expected suits be enough to keep such dastardly, despicable actions from being repeated?
PSU has a long way to go to prove the dollars generated from its multimillion football program was not the deciding factor in failing to police its own people and program. PSU has a long way to go to prove that dollars did not and do not outweigh morals, ethics and protecting students and children who nearly worship their football heroes.
Has the scandal and the subsequent outcome of the investigation by Freeh destroyed PSU? Hopefully not, but only time will tell if the university and its sports programs ever return to the revered position they once had.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org