2 years later, a football program thought to be in shambles, possibly extinct, is functioning, even thriving. Things are looking up for the Nittany Lions of Penn State. 4 games from bowl eligibility and a year away from a full compliment of 85 scholarships, the NCAA has reprimanded and now un-reprimanded the PSU football program. But no, don’t think the program walks away unscathed.
I’m not here to argue that Penn State was a perfect program. There was an obvious glaring issue that needed to be fixed, and it was. An internal clean sweep took out all the people who needed to be removed. This was before the NCAA decided to intervene. The people who needed to be punished where punished, and then the NCAA stepped in and lowered the boom. Lowered the boom against a group of 18-21 year old football players who had no involvement whatsoever. A proud program was brought to it’s knees: a reduction in scholarships, vacated wins from 1998 to 2011, a $60 million fine, and banned from the postseason from 2012 to 2015. But why was it necessary to punish players and coaches who had zero to do with what went on. Don’t misunderstand: I agree with the firing of Paterno, Spainer, and Curley, they needed to leave. But why, why punish these 18 and 19 year old kids who came to an esteemed university to get an education and play Big Ten football. There is a big black mark on the Penn State, rightfully so. But the NCAA made the right decision. The culprits are long gone. Let the innocent players play, and the coaches coach. We are still Penn State.