Navy Shouldn't Play Penn State in 2012

The reason why Navy shouldn't play Penn State next season is because the Nittany Lions should get the death penalty for the scandal surrounding its football program.

As a parent of two small children, it took a lot for me to get through the grand jury testimony that was made public a few dayss ago surrounding the alleged crimes of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The details were so sordid that it would make any parent cringe at the possibility of their son or daughter being a victim of such heinous and unspeakable acts. If the story was just about the crime and the person who committed the crime, then the outrage surrounding this incident would go towards just one person – the alleged perpetrator. However, the apparent cover-up and gross negligence on the part of the administration at the university deserves a lot more scrutiny. In fact one could argue that Sandusky, as awful as a human being as he is alleged to be, may have some significant mental issues that caused him (or causes) him to these things. I mean why else would any adult do what he did? The only explanation that makes sense is that he has some sort of chemical imbalance.

Unfortunately for college football and Penn State University, those who allowed these acts to continue; those who fostered an environment for this deviant behavior; and those who probably played a role in covering up countless incidents need to be severely punished. The Penn State football program, either by some NCAA decree or by some federal or state intervention needs to get the ‘death penalty'. Sure, it will probably take several months for an investigation to fully uncover the many layers of cover-ups and lies, but when it is complete, the possible penalties for the moral and legal infractions should as severe as any ever handed out by the NCAA or a governing body with oversight of a university.

The most significant ‘death penalty' case in NCAA college sports involved SMU in the late 1980s. In addition to an extension of its probation, the loss of several scholarships, and recruiting restrictions, the 1987 football season and all home games in 1988 were cancelled. The fact that this penalty came as a result of what essentially was players being paid by a booster pales in comparison to the alleged wrongdoing in Happy Valley. Actually, there is NO comparison between the two. None. Who cares about players being paid? Who cares about players selling jerseys? Who cares about what a tattoo parlor or car dealership may have done? Who cares about whatever happened at the University of Miami with some booster? What happened at Penn State and the complete lack of morality shown up and down the athletic department chain of command and into the President's office is the shame of the century in college athletics.

Personally I hope that part of the investigation into this travesty delves into the influence the Penn State football program had on the entire university in respect to these events and in the grand scheme of things. I wouldn't be surprised if the words ‘corrupt,' ‘greed,' and ‘power' are everywhere in the findings. Why did Sandusky retire in 1999? What exactly did administrator's mean when they said to Sandusky, ‘Just don't bring kids here?' Did they mean, whatever you do, keep this away from the football program. Nothing and I mean nothing can come between our legendary coach, billion-dollar program, and rock-solid reputation. So Jerry, take this behavior to another place.

It should not be a given that the Penn State football team should play a game in 2012. It is commonplace now for universities who break NCAA rules like recruiting and booster-related violations to actually penalize themselves as quickly as possible in an effort to show the NCAA how serious they are about accountability – and in the hopes of being spared by the NCAA when they hand down their own penalties.

While it is unclear what, if anything the NCAA can do because of the scandal surrounding Penn State, the Board of Trustees at the university can impose whatever penalties it deems necessary, and that includes canceling football seasons.

In fact, if the Board of Trustees were to cancel the entire 2012 season before the end of 2011, pending an investigation, it would be the first time anyone affiliated with the university actually got ahead of this tsunami. Firing Joe Paterno, for what is essentially three games, and Graham Spanier, who was never going to survive the week in his office, is a good start. But that is all it is – a start. A lot of people care about football in State College, Pennsylvania. It's unfathomable to think that it is possible, but some may have cared more about protecting a football program than protecting kids who were being raped. If that is indeed the case, Penn State deserves the death penalty.

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