Just in case it isn’t clear, this is an opinion article.
Under pressure of a lawsuit which could have lifted all sanctions on Penn State for their coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s systemic molestation of young boys, the NCAA agreed to reinstate the 112 wins for the university and Joe Paterno.
Two state politicians filed suit against the NCAA. They modified their suit after it was filed in order to claim the entire consent decree was invalid. They didn’t want any sanctions on Penn State for their help in covering up molestation. The University shouldn’t bear any consequences in their view.
NCAA and the Penn State trustees agreed to a revised consent decree.
One trustee of Penn State, who was willing to be quoted, said there ought not have been any punishment of any sort, but he voted to accept the settlement just so they don’t have talk about the NCAA or the minor costs-of-doing-business sanctions any more.
Here are the initial, momentary sanctions:
- $60M fine paid over five years
- 112 wins from 14 seasons voided
- Football scholarships dropped from 85 to 65 and number of new scholarships in any one year dropped from 25 to 15
- No bowl games for 4 years
The bowl game ban and scholarship reductions were rescinded last fall.
The 114 wins were reinstated by the new revision to the consent decree.
That only leaves the $60M fine in place, which I’ve previously mentioned is a mere cost of doing business. I’ve calculated the fine is approximately equal to a retroactive 8.5% tax on the 14 years of football revenue when the molestation was in progress and being covered up.
Once the bowl game ban evaporated, it only took a few months for Penn State to win the Pinstripe Bowl 31-30. While the bowl trophy was still held in the air, the first-year coach told
…thousands of die-hards that packed the stadium, “You want to talk about closure? Look around! This is closure!”
Apparently that pesky little bit of bad PR is now behind them. It’s as if it never happened.
So, just a few years out, the only actual consequences are:
- 8.5% retroactive tax that has the severity of just being a cost of doing business
- No blemish on the win records
- Inconvenience for the 66th through 85th best players on the team of actually having to pay for their tuition, which probably improved the university’s bottom line for two years and thus reduced the net tax for two years
- Two year timeout from bowl games
Not so bad actually. Almost like it never happened.
Except for Penn State’s legacy. Keith Olbermann said:
The move was two institutions making an attempt to push the scandal a little further into the forgotten.
“This is Joe Paterno’s legacy,” Olbermann said. “This is Penn State’s legacy. Football was more important to them than saving children.”
My previous posts:
- 8/2/12 – On capital punishment of organizations – Arthur Andersen and Penn State – corporate death versus mild sanctions
- 9/15/14 – Mild sanctions on Penn State for covering up child molestation just got milder
Resources for this post:
- 1/16/15 – Wall Street Journal – NCAA Announces Settlement to Reinstate Penn State Football Wins
- 1/16/15 – ESPN – Joe Paterno is now winningest coach
- 1/18/15 – DeadSpin – Keith Olbermann Dropkicks NCAA And Penn State Through Five Glass Doors
- 12/27/14 – Wall Street Journal – Penn State Wins Pinstripe Bowl in Overtime
What do you think? Did I miss the boat? Miscalculate the cost of doing business?
Professional comments welcome. Snarky comments will get deleted.