Monday will be a historic day in NCAA Athletics. The NCAA will mete out penalties to Penn State Athletics for its part in the recent child abuse sex scandal involving former Nittany Lion assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
It is historic in that the President of the NCAA has never done this before. He has never been judge and jury in a case such as this, without involving the NCAA Leadership and membership. It is also historic in that the NCAA is pronouncing punishment before any actual NCAA investigation has been done and completed.
It makes you think that the university and the NCAA have come to an agreement behind the scenes.
On Monday, probably because of the heinous nature of the crimes, the NCAA will set an intriguing precedent by ruling on a case that is, at this point, has been more of a moral violation than an NCAA issue.
Most in the national media have called for Penn State football to get the death penalty which would mean not playing football this season or in the future. I have stated for some time now, that, in the past, the NCAA does not want to use the death penalty again because of the devastating financial impact it has on a campus, a town, a region, a state and on the conference of which the school is a member.
In all likelihood, Penn State will face historic financial fines. Those fines will likely go to child abuse organizations. Those fines alone may cause the elimination of some of the program’s 29 varsity sports.
In all likelihood, the football sanctions will include losing the ability to play in post season bowl game for a minimum of two seasons and a loss of scholarships. Those sanctions will have an impact on recruiting and cause short term problems on the field, just as it did at Alabama in the early 2000′s.
it is also possible that the NCAA will actually take control of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and take over the running of the Nittany Lion program on a temporary basis. We have seen that in major league baseball and the NBA. We hav also seen this happen in our state educationally when the state has taken over running the school systems in Marion and McDowell counties.
Unless the Freeh report is proven wrong after a series of trials and testimonies, the rumored penalties on Monday will stand for Penn State. They may be revised if unexpected information comes out of some of the upcoming trials for university officials in mid-August.
From a football standpoint, the university and the football program can recover from fines and NCAA sanctions. I am not sure the community, campus and business economy of the cental Pennsylvania region could recover from a one or two year ban on football.
It was always expected that new coach Bill O’Brien would have his hands full following a coaching legend in Happy Valley. On Monday morning that job is expected to get a little tougher.