Effects of Penn State punishment
The NCAA handed Penn State University an unprecedented punishment Monday morning due to the university’s failure to properly report sexual abuse allegations against one if its former assistant football coaches.
The university must pay $60 million to organizations that focus on the detection, prevention and treatment of child sexual assault. The Nittany Lions are also banned from postseason play for four years, are placed on probation for five years, and must reduce from 85 to 65 their football scholarships, including granting no more than 15 (rather than 25) per year for the next four years.
And a day after Penn State took down Joe Paterno’s statue, the NCAA took down his all-time wins record by requiring PSU to vacate all wins from 1998-2011. As a result, the now deceased Paterno had 111 wins removed from his total, giving him 298.
All of this stemmed from the alleged cover up sexual assault of boys by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was recently found guilty of such charges.
For the PSU football program, the harshest punishment is the reduction of scholarships. Along with that, all current Nittany Lions and incoming freshmen are free to transfer without having to sit out a transfer’s traditional one year before becoming eligible. Operating a program with 20 fewer scholarships than their peers for the next four years will actually set the Nittany Lions back for far more than four years.
From a coaching perspective, new PSU coach Bill O’Brien is now not only tasked with attempting to turn around a poisoned culture in the Nittany Lion football program, but he must also become a leader in “damage control” with current and incoming players in an attempt to prevent his best players from transferring in his attempt to retain his best roster possible.
From an administrative perspective, not only does Penn State need to determine exactly how it will pay for the $60 million penalty—to be paid into an endowment fund at $12 million per year for five years—but it also must work to become a national leader in higher education in the fight against child sexual assault. In addition, it will be required to work with the NCAA and external units to set up proper monitoring procedures to ensure that employees are operating both legally and ethically.
From a marketing perspective, the personnel for both the athletic department and the university in general will need to determine a strategy going forward with future marketing campaigns. Sport marketing personnel will need to ensure that fans continue to fill the 106,000 seats at Beaver Stadium despite the potential of the product being less desirable. The general university marketing department must promote itself in a manner that presents the institution in a manner in which it appears to be moving forward as a leading university in order to continue to attract the highest caliber students possible.
Finally, all universities under the NCAA’s watch will also take something away from this historic punishment. One of the charges was that Paterno and the football program held so much power on campus that it resulted in actions and judgments that placed the health of the football program above the well-being of the assaulted children and also the institution in general.
University presidents and athletic directors across the country are no doubt examining their own houses. Penn State is obviously not the only university that has allowed athletic success to be the driving force in various decisions or actions, albeit not to the heinous extent that Penn State allowed it to be. But administrators are surely placing a greater emphasis on keeping athletics in perspective, which will hopefully prevent anything even on a miniature scale of the Penn State scandal from ever happening again.