You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.


Penn State penalties reveal NCAA’s reluctance to pull plug on football

Continue reading below

The punishment that the National Collegiate Athletic Association gave to Penn State Monday was an act of creative cowardice. In response to revelations of horrific sexual abuse of children by assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the NCAA drew up a series of penalties that include a four-year bowl ban, lost football scholarships, a $60 million fine to be paid into a child sexual abuse prevention fund, and the vacating of coach Joe Paterno’s victories since 1998 — the year that the university first became aware of allegations against Sandusky.

Yet even as NCAA president Mark Emmert declared that “football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing, and protecting young people,” the organization lacked the nerve to simply suspend a Penn State football program that covered up for Sandusky even as he used its prestige to gain access to victims.“One of the grave dangers,” Emmert warned, “is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail — indeed, too big to even challenge.” Precisely. But in allowing the Penn State football program to keep playing, hamstrung but uninterrupted, the NCAA proved the point, shielding the university from the consequences of its own failure.

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of