Death Penalty Seems Appropriate
The most heavy-handed penalty the NCAA can levy is what is commonly known as the Death Penalty. It is something the National Collegiate Athletic Association has only found necessary to use five times in the association’s history. Its most known use in recent times is when Southern Methodist University’s football program received the penalty as a result of allegations, later verified, that many members of their football program had received cash stipends. The resulting “Death Penalty” was the culmination of a series of cover-ups and warnings conveyed by the NCAA.
The penalty is one that has been debated heavily since the SMU scandal after seeing the effects the penalty had on the program for many years to come.
The publication of the Freeh Report, which articulates the cover-up put forth by many levels of the Penn State hierarchies with regards to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, it’s fair to say that the NCAA needs to implement the “Death Penalty” with regards to the cover-up perpetrated by those entrusted to make sound and rational decisions as leaders within a university. In his report, former FBI Director Louis Freeh stated, “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children Sandusky victimized.” The 267 page report, in great detail, concludes that coach Joe Paterno, Penn State University President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, and University Vice President Gary Schultz, in the words of Freeh, “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”Whether the motive was bad press, a decrease in revenue, or just a black cloud the university didn’t want to deal with, the facts, as they stand right now, show individuals in power that put individual and collective greed in front of the safety and well being of some very vulnerable boys. When the author of the report concludes that there are “more red flags here than you can count over a long period of time”, it is evident that a cover-up at the highest levels was taking place. Southern Methodist University was bold and brash in its payouts to recruits in order to build a powerhouse in the old Southwest Conference. Its disregard for the rules brought the most serious penalty the NCAA can issue. That same bold and brashness now rears its evil head again with Penn State, however this time, the impact on those adversely affected is far more serious and detrimental than anything that appears to have occurred at SMU. The “Death Penalty” is something that can send a university reeling for many years after it is lifted. Since the consequences of coach Sandusky’s actions have had a number of young men reeling for years, the “Death Penalty” seems in this case all together appropriate.