There needed to be swift and severe punishments for the unbelievably horrifying behavior that was allowed to go on at Penn State. The complete disregard for the well being of so many young boys is a tragedy that will hopefully never be forgotten and will serve as a longstanding lesson in protecting our youth. The lack of action by the adults involved is deplorable and I hope every one of them gets what is coming to them. Their punishments should be the most severe of all.
That said, the sanctions that were handed down are now hurting the young boys that have aligned themselves with Penn State to play football. These boys had no idea when they agreed to go to, what they thought at the time was one of the greatest football institutions in America, that by no fault of their own they would end up doing two a days in a snake pit.
For the most part the young men who are playing football at Penn State will not enter the NFL draft. They worked unbelievable hours, studied an unlimited number of films and laid in bed countless nights dreaming of playing in a giant college stadium. Now, they surely lie in bed wondering why the actions of a few power hungry heartless men will undermine the very dream they have worked their entire lives to achieve.
Limited scholarships for incoming players will mean a poor team that wouldn’t be able to compete at a level high enough to win the rights to play in a bowl even if they were eligible. Which they aren’t because for the next four years, Penn State is ineligible for a bowl bid.
The NCAA did concede that any player wishing to leave the school and play somewhere else can do so without losing eligibility of play time. This means the best of players, those who might end up playing in the NFL, will leave and go play somewhere else. The ones with little to no chance of playing in the NFL, those who know that this is it for them, that their childhood dream of playing four years of high level collegiate football is a small window that is quickly closing? They will stay. There are no other teams that need them. Their rosters are filled.
Not only will Penn State not be able to recruit worthwhile players, the good ones they have now will most likely make their exodus, leaving behind a skeleton of a team and in turn hard earned dreams that will go unfulfilled.
There are very few years as precious and wonderful as those in college. The final years where your dreams are still yours before the reality of life and responsibility takes hold. They are to be the best of times. You are supposed to talk about the fun and the excitement for years to come. Unfortunately, these young men will spend the rest of their lives discussing sexual abuse, sanctions, dreams unrealized and a giant pile of what ifs.
I am saddened beyond words that these young men will pay their college years for the egregious acts of a few adults that happened long ago, just when their dreams were beginning to materialize.