Penn State University Should Get the Death Penalty

You read that correctly.

THE Pennsylvania State University needs to get the death penalty.

Not the football program.

Not the athletic department.

The whole university!

This isn’t about one pedophile (Jerry Sandusky) using his position to prey on children, or a legendary coach (Joe Paterno) trying to cover his legacy, or an Athletic Director who acted more like an Athletic Supporter, or even a President who swept the whole mess under the rug.

No…this is about an entire university systematically covering up what they knew to be true: one of their coaches was sexually assaulting children.

One of their coaches even caught him in the act, and PSU leaders did not bother to go to the police.

Joe Paterno–who marketed himself in terms of winning “with honor”–was an integral part of the coverup. His failures were not simply a matter of failing to make that extra phone call: he had multiple opportunities to do the right thing, and passed on every opportunity.

The football program will–and should–get a death sentence. When that happens, booster donations are going to fall like a brick, costing the university substantial revenues.

Alumni contributions will drop like a doomed paratrooper, costing the university even more revenues.

Sandusky’s victims–a large number–will have a very big lawsuit in the making. And they will–and should–win the suit.

When that happens, Penn State will enter a period of “financial exigency”. In the academic world, those are the words no one wants to hear: that means they will be slashing everything they can: from staff to faculty to entire degree programs and academic departments. Tenured professors won’t even be safe.

At that point, the people of Pennsylvania will be faced with a very large elephant in the room: will it even be worth it to continue the university as a going concern?

My answer is NO.

Forget about business models and revenue forecasts and regaining solvency. It may take 50 years for Penn State to rebuild their image. It isn’t worth it.

There are already plenty of fine colleges and universities in Pennsylvania: Bucknell University, Carnegie-Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, Lehigh University, Drexel University, Temple University, University of Pennslyvania, Kutztown University, Shippensburg State University, Millersville University, Messiah College.

The good departments–such as engineering and sciences–could easily be annexed by Carnegie-Mellon or Lehigh or Pitt, with the rest of the university dissolved.

The taxpayers don’t need the albatross of Penn State. The state is better without the university.

18 thoughts on “Penn State University Should Get the Death Penalty

  1. The football program will–and should–get a death sentence.

    I wouldn’t necessarily count on that happening. If the NCAA took its own rules and regulations seriously, Ohio State wouldn’t have been permitted to field a football team last season. The NCAA is a joke.

    Penn State’s legacy as a university is forever tarnished. If I had any children I wouldn’t want them to go there. Whether the state will shut it down is another matter altogether. I suggest their top officials should get to work updating their resumes since they may soon be joining the school’s former president in the unemployment line.

    • Yeah, but the Penn State affair makes Ohio State’s transgressions look like a church potluck picnic.

      The NCAA will be under very severe pressure to take decisive action here. Anything short of a death sentence–for at least three years–is going to make them look very soft.

      The Freeh report was ugly, and there is going to be a lot of hell to pay in Happy Valley. And the NCAA will come down hard, even though the NCAA will be the least of Penn State’s problems.

  2. NO, the university is fine. Don’t destroy it for the crimes of the sports department.

    END ALL college football for five years.

    Despite the uproar, nobody will die.

    • NO, the university is fine. Don’t destroy it for the crimes of the sports department.

      From a practical standpoint, that is probably going to happen. At the very least, the university–as we know it today–will cease to exist. Will it be significantly downsized? Almost certainly. A complete shutdown is not out of the realm of possibilities, depending on the magnitude of the lawsuits. And THAT is going to be nasty.

      In addition to the victims who testified in the criminal case, more victims are going to start coming out of the woodwork. This lawsuit is going to be at least in 8-figure territory, possibly 9-figure territory. The juries involved are going to make an example out of Penn State.

      If it’s a 9-figure settlement, Penn State is going to be hit very hard financially, and the fallout will impact far more than the football program or even the other athletic departments.

      On top of that, there is the issue of booster money and alumni contributions.

      Penn State–at the time of the report yesterday–had the second highest alumni contribution bases in the country, second only to the University of Michigan.

      The problem is, Penn State’s financial structure is predicated on that alumni base. Right now, there are going to be a lot of pissed off alumni who are going to be tighter with their wallets. If those monies fall marginally, it will be bad. If they fall dramatically, the fallout will be nasty.

      As for booster contributions, those are going to be very iffy. The football program will get the death penalty. In the NCAA world, the code word that brings that hard sentence is “lack of institutional control”.

      At Penn State, there was no institutional control. The NCAA is going to be under very severe pressure to act. Anything short of the “death penalty” is going to bring a larger backlash against the NCAA.

      Penn State’s football program is going to be among the doormats for the Big Ten for the foreseeable future.

      Booster monies are going to be impacted here, due to that as well as the uncertainties.

      That translates into a very nasty financial problem for Penn State. A university as large as PSU requires a large amount of revenue to maintain their financial structure. Large dislocations in that structure–for a large organization like that–are disastrous.

      That will lead to some form of financial exigency. And those two words–financial exigency–are the last two words anyone in academia wants to hear. Because when that happens, even tenured professors aren’t even safe.

      • That translates into a very nasty financial problem for Penn State.

        It will also translate into a very nasty financial problem for Pennsylvania taxpayers since Penn State is a state-supported school.

        • It certainly could, but that would also depend on the extent to which taxpayers will demand to bail out the school.

          On that front, it would be a very tough prognostication to make as to whether taxpayers are going to want to go there.

          Sure, we’re talking Penn State, but–at the same time–we also have a very difficult economic situation and PA taxpayers are already feeling a lot of pain.

    • END ALL college football for five years.

      Despite the uproar, nobody will die.

      Sandusky’s victims suffered the next worst thing. Some of them will say they would have preferred death.

      That said, a 5-year death penalty for the football program will probably be the NCAA action.

      At this point, though, that is going to be the least of Penn State’s problems, although it will be a significant part of their impending financial debacle.

  3. whatever it takes to get the message across that what they did is wrong and should not be tolerated or done by anyone, ever.

  4. How did Bucknell get on the list of fine colleges in Pa.? FIRE has been all over them for years the way they don’t allow conservative speech. And Temple? That’s another haven for leftist thought. Pitt? The diversitycrats are in charge there. Penn? It’s an Ivy, so how could it be any good? Besides they should have gotten the death penalty back in the 90’s after the water buffalo incident.
    Don’t know about the other ones, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t have skeletons in their own closets.

    • Sadly, the vast majority of the colleges in that area have some skeletons. As for whether the school is good, it depends on your major.

      Bucknell is a fine school, if you’re thinking engineering, although–in that area–I would favor Carnegie-Mellon, Lehigh, or Drexel.

      Penn is a fine school, if you’re thinking business or economics.

      Now to the point you raise about speech codes, I couldn’t agree more, although that’s a completely different metric.

    • And as for the leftist slant, a lot of that depends on the department.

      If you’re majoring in humanities or social sciences or anything related–African studies, women’s studies, etc.–you can take it as a given that your experience is going to be ranging from far left to Maoism.

      If you’re majoring in mathematics or the hard sciences, your experiences are going to range from far left to centrist, with perhaps a few conservatives here and there.

      If you’re majoring in engineering or business, your experiences will be mostly down the middle, with a few extremes both ways.

      If you major in computer science or IT, it will be quite leftward, but not nearly as bad as the humanities departments.

      As for university administrators, those are going to generally lean very leftward.

      If you want a university that leans center-right or hard-right, it will be tough to find. Other than Hillsdale, and some hardcore Christian schools–Covenant College, Bob Jones University, Liberty University, Lee University, etc.–there aren’t that many out there.

  5. The NCAA is about to lower the boom on Penn State’s football program. From what I’ve read, it will not quite be the “death penalty”, but it will be–from a functional standpoint–as bad or worse.

    Hopefully, the athletes involved will be given leeway to transfer to other schools–with normal restrictions waived–and make their pursuits.

    But if the sanctions are as bad as advertised, Penn State is going to be feeling it for several years.

    How that affects the larger University, no one knows. If booster and alumni contributions start dropping, PSU will be in a fiscal black hole–necessitating some drastic cuts–but could otherwise weather the storm.

    If the falloff in monies is sufficiently large, it could get interesting over the next couple years.

  6. The NCAA has announced their penalties against Penn State:

    (a) A 4-year ban on Bowl game apperances;

    (b) A $60 million fine;

    (c) A loss of 20 scholarships per year for the next 4 years;

    (d) All of Paterno’s victories from 1998-2011 have been vacated.

    While this is not the “death penalty”, it might as well be.

    This is a very huge punishment, and–remember–that is only the beginning.

    The lawsuits from the victims shall be forthcoming. as well the should…

      • Not really sure, but–honestly–this is arguably worse than the death penalty.

        The losses in scholarships (80, twenty per year for 4 years), the ban on postseason play, the financial assessments–so far totaling $73 million between the NCAA and the Big Ten, and the lawsuits haven’t even started–the football program might as well be shut down.

        On top of that, the athletes are permitted to transfer without penalty, and the schools receiving them will be allowed to do so without it affecting their scholarship limits.

        So, effectively, the PSU football program is dead for the next 4 years.

        They didn’t get the official death penalty, but this is every bit as bad, and arguably worse.

      • And–given that their program is now the doormat of the Big Ten–they can pretty much kiss their hoped-for television revenues goodbye.

  7. All of Paterno’s victories from 1998-2011 have been vacated.

    I can understand their wanting to get Joe Paterno, but what about the football players between 1998 and 2011 who had nothing to do with the scandal?

    SMU’s football program got the death penalty in 1987; the school chose not to field a team in 1988 as well. Only in the last couple of years has their football program returned to respectability. I think it will be at least 25 years before Penn State’s football program returns to respectability following these sanctions.

    • 25 years might be about right, assuming Penn State survives as a university. Like I said, with the lawsuits coming down–and those are going to be nasty–PSU will be majorly downsized if the judgment is sufficiently large.

      The vacation of the victories from 1998-2011 struck me as petty. That nullifies the efforts of athletes and coaches who had nothing to do with the scandals. Very ridiculous.

      Joe Paterno is dead. At this point, his estate may face liabilities in the upcoming lawsuits, but I see no need to punish athletes any more than has already been done.

      Sadly, it will suck for those who are there now. Every coach and player on the team came to play for Paterno’s program. Not only is that not going to happen, Paterno’s legacy is gone forever.

      Sure, the athletes will be able to transfer elsewhere–and without penalty. There’s still a price to pay. It isn’t fair, but life isn’t fair.

      Still, for the NCAA to vacate the wins–earned by the players and coaches on the field–strikes me as ridiculous.

      They should shelve that part of the penalty, and triple the amount of the fine.

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