Friday, July 27, 2012

Penn State Student Athletes

I think some disclosure is necessary to begin. I am not a college football fan. Yes, I used to watch bowl games on New Years Day when they were on New Years Day but now that there seems to be a bowl game almost every day in December and half of January so I don't really watch them. I have never gone to a college football game in person and the college I attended, Hofstra University, dropped its football program a few years ago. See this link for more details on that.

When Hofstra disbanded its team, the student athletes were made to make choices. They either had to find a new school/team or decide to stay and not play football. Hofstra offered to honor the scholarship commitments to the existing scholarship recipients but the student athletes needed to decide to be either or. I don't know how many decided to stay and how many decided to go but the stress that they were under by this decision that they were forced to make was no fault of their own.

The current Penn State student football players are also in a situation that is no fault of their own. They simply made a decision to attend Penn State or accept a scholarship to PSU that was probably the best decision they could have made with the facts known at that time. Last fall's season probably wasn't the best season to be a Penn State Football player. The future, though, for these athletes will be different. I don't want to predict if that future will be better or worse.

Yes, the players can look for another school. But being able to join a football team at another school doesn't mean that academically these individual students won't pay a cost. I may be naive but some of the student athletes may be actually attending college to get an education rather that using the college football program as an NFL minor league. Some may be going to school to get a degree or, gasp, perhaps learn something to prepare them for the rest of their lives. Most schools do not accept transfers of seniors. Many have degree requirements that could extend their time in college. No, most of these athletes are not going to the NFL. I wonder if the NCAA realized that they were students as well as athletes.

Did the current crop of players do anything wrong related to the cause of the sanctions? No. What about the players who played on the teams that got their wins vacated? They didn't either. While not to the extent of Sandusky's victims, the current student athletes are victims. I feel sorry for them. Don't know if everyone (or perhaps even anyone) in the NCAA does.

PS: If they had a poll asking which figure was the pedophile do you think more people would pick Paterno or Sandusky. What about in 5 years?

PPS: Wonder if taxpayers need to chip in for the $60MM fine (forget about the other fines from the Big10,etc). After all, it is a state school and I think that some of it is funded by state appropriation from tax dollars . Just a thought.

7 comments:

Carolina John said...

That was my biggest concern about the $60million fine. How much was tuition going to go up to cover that cost? It's going to crush all of the current students. PSU is a state school of course, so the taxpayers of Penn will end up footing the bill for the football coach's discretions. That sucks all the way around. And I'm a huge college football fan.

Jeff Irvin said...

It is a nasty situation for all involved. You do have to feel bad for the students.

As for the fine, I read that it is to come from the football earnings/budget only. Not sure how but the NCAA made sure this was the case. PSU apparel accounted for over $80m last year alone so the taxpayer is safe - in this case (-:

I was talking to a friend the other day (we are both from PA) and told him that I bet in 10 years people are going to remember JoePA as that coach that was a pedophile. Sad, but this is what will happen.

Katie Duffy said...

This is interesting and I agree with a lot of it. When I first heard about the penalties, I was happy they didn't kill the football program because it would punish the athletes, but I never thought about the effect the vacated wins would have on the former athletes. I also hadn't considered how difficult it would be for the seniors to transfer out (especially this late in the summer - if they had announced all of this in April or May, maybe some of these guys would have had a shot). The thought about the state tax payers being the actual funders of the fine hadn't occurred to me, either; what a circular, ridiculous mess.

I had a mini debate with my husband about it. For me, I get that the school and the football program shouldn't profit off of the duplicity of Paterno and company, since it seems the primary motivation in covering up Sandusky's crimes was that they wanted to keep him coaching. My husband, howvever, agrees with an analyst who said that the NCAA has no place in this because it's a criminal matter, period.

For the record, I couldn't care less about college football. My school didn't (still doesn't) have a team. NFL!

Teamarcia said...

Sigh. This is so unfortunate for so many.

Kate said...

I think it's a very unfortunate situation for the athletes, who are being penalized for something they had nothing to do with. On the other hand, I'm glad the NCAA imposed penalties and took this seriously. As someone who grew up Catholic, the Catholic church's lack of response to its own pedophile problems has been an ongoing disappointment and shame to me.

Mike said...

I feel bad for the students as well as the victims. Just a crappy situation caused by a few people that thought they were untouchable.

Lisa said...

Basically a no win situation for everyone.