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Penn State Should Forfeit Season

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The Penn State child sex abuse scandal has reached a level never seen before in collegiate athletics. Jerry Sandusky, a former coaching legend on and off campus, has allegedly disgraced the program and ruined the lives of countless innocent children. The sordid details in the twenty-three page affidavit are stomach churning, disturbing, and really, really dark. Penn State is being accused of many things — some of which are unfortunately more fact than fiction — but the bottom line seems unavoidable. They had a role — how big or small will bear itself out over time — in enabling an accused child molester. The fact that some of the allegations are purported to have taken place on the Penn State campus makes everyone involved at the school liable in one way or another.

Life will never be the same for the victims of the crimes. None of us can begin to understand the magnitude of what really went on. Everyone involved is suspect to questions that will be scrutinized at every turn. Hopefully, in time, there will be real justice in this case. Jerry Sandusky is probably headed to jail for life. The entire athletic department, including Joe Paterno, will have their day in court to defend themselves and try to set the record straight. Until then, I believe the football program should be punished.

Penn State football should forfeit the remainder of the Big Ten season. There should not be a football game on Saturday in Happy Valley. It is egregious to allow a school to celebrated touchdowns, sacks, and interceptions just days after the school destroyed the sanctity of public institutions. There should not be a coin toss at 12:05 on Saturday afternoon. Nebraska shouldn’t line up for a kickoff. The Penn State faithful should not be allowed to have a tailgate and watch their team contend for a spot in the Rose Bowl.

Why? Because it’s not fair. Playing football on Saturday at Beaver Stadium is a slap in the face of every victim that will remember the campus facilities as a place of nightmares and despair.  Taking the band and team charter to Ohio State and Wisconsin is disrespectful to any child that was taken on sadistic road trips, funded by the football program, by Sandusky. The chance that any family member, friend, or actual victim can be privy to seeing the football team run out of a tunnel is unacceptable.

Penn State athletics should be forced to pay Nebraska back for the wasted travel expenses. They should refund the money, tickets, and travel costs for anyone with plans to attend Saturday’s game. Ditto for the dates in Ohio State and Wisconsin. They should be forced to pay the Big Ten for the lost money that would come from declining the invitation to the bowl game they will be selected to.

Actions like this will hurt the program, current players, and both current and former students. That’s the point. Penn State really, really screwed up. Their reputation will never be the same. Most of us will forever remember these allegations, crimes, and terrible moments that are sure to ensue. The NCAA will eventually reprimand Penn State. People will be fired, sanctions brought down, and money lost.

Those penalties should start now.  When the patriarch of a family commits a crime or losses a job, the whole family suffers. The crimes — both legal and moral — deserved immediate punishment. Penn State portrays itself as a big family. Their “WE ARE” chant should be shelved for the rest of this season. Joe Paterno’s career should have ended on two weeks ago against Illinois.

It will take years for Penn State to repair the damages that this scandal has done to their image and prestige. Honestly, it probably will never be totally repaired. They can finally show some tact on Saturday, though.

Forfeit the game.

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