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Penn State, the NCAA, and disappointment

| Thursday, September 11, 2014

I am writing in regard to the NCAA reversing the sanctions levied on Penn State University. It is abhorrent that the NCAA abolished the sanctions levied on Penn State University. I understand the decision followed a positive report from former Senator George Mitchell’s organization DLA Piper; however, the NCAA’s decision has undermined justice for the victims. 

I have read the report, and while it is nice to see Penn State’s recent commitment to ethics, nothing changes the fact that Penn State as an institution allowed for rape and molestation of young men. The hurt and horror of those experiences will never go away and now the NCAA has diminished their justice. 

I have heard arguments that the sanctions were unfair to the players, that they did nothing wrong and sanctioning Penn State will only continue to hurt these players. This is false. The NCAA correctly allowed current players at the time the ability to transfer without penalty. Most of those on the original team have graduated or had the opportunity to transfer. Any student committing to Penn State the past two years would have known they would not be able to play in bowl games. 

While I understand the concept of “getting time off for good behavior,” an institution that knowingly overlooked the rape of a 10-year-old boy should not, under any circumstance, be forgiven so easily. Although Penn State’s sanctions did not even last two years, for more than 15 years Jerry Sandusky was able to prey on young men. During which time the University, from the University president down to graduate assistants, covered up the assaults. 

To close, I wish to share with you a grave statistic: one in six men are sexually abused or assaulted. According to the Center for Disease Control, it is largely believed to be an underestimate due to the social stigma men face of reporting the abuse against them. I ask you to reflect on the message sent to that one in six and what it says about the values of the NCAA. How could an institution that fostered the abuse of children be let off the hook like this? By overturning the initial ruling, the NCAA is essentially saying that justice for victims is merely temporary.

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