Everyone is talking about the child abuse scandal rocking State College. Everyone has opinions on how the people involved should be punished. And these are very different opinions. I'm personally glad to see that Sandusky will be facing 40 criminal charges and, if found guilty, should do some serious and hard jail time. I'm glad that Curley and Schultz are facing criminal charges and may very well learn about life in jail as well. Rumors today indicate that Spanier and Paterno are losing their jobs and I'm good with that also. Smarter people than I will make these final decisions, but as a fan of the game of football, what concerns me now is this: How do we punish Penn State?
We, as a nation, have created a monster and it's called College Football. NCAA rules have been violated at more schools than I can recount here and they have faced punishment. But up until now, these rules violations directly affected the football teams and players at these schools. The situation at Penn State should never have been about football. It should have been about a football coach who found out that someone witnessed a former employee of the school abusing a child. And it should have been reported to the police. It was not and the only reason I can see for this is the fear that it would tarnish the football program. People in authority positions put the welfare of children behind the money that is generated by their football program.
People are throwing around punishment options like cancelling the rest of Penn State's football season, de-certifying them from the Big Ten Conference, and even giving the program the Death Penalty. I don't like any of those options. It punishes players who had no idea what was going on, who were not part of the cover-up, who are not guilty of anything. My punishment is one meant to send a message to the NCAA and also allow the NCAA to send a message of it's own; take away the money.
The NCAA needs to announce that all money made this year, including pay-outs for teams playing in bowl games, will be donated to charities that assist victims of child abuse. They can find charities located near member schools and divide up the millions that they bring in and make a difference for these kids. And send a message that they really aren't about money, that kids matter.
And yes, I mean every single school in the NCAA. This is not a Penn State issue. This is not a Big Ten issue. This is an NCAA issue. This is a wake-up call for college football and it's fans. It's time to put the student back in "student-athlete" and stop the gravy train. The power, prestige, and MONEY involved in NCAA football created the environment where incredibly bad decisions (even criminal decisions) were made. And children have been irrevocably harmed as a result.
We are no longer talking about players getting free rounds of golf or tattoos. We are talking about the abuse of children. If this isn't enough to make the NCAA take strong action, cut back on the money it's making and spending, scale down to be what it was intended to be all along, then what will it take?