But O’Brien’s best efforts may be inconsequential if the school or the NCAA decides to shutdown the Nittany Lions’ football program for any extended period. And that decision — as polarizing as it may be — will likely be discussed in the near future. Post columnist Jason Reid believes Penn State football needs to take a timeout:
The NCAA’s 444-page manual contains no language directly addressing appropriate punishment for concealing information regarding child sexual abuse. But in light of the shameful conduct of Penn State’s leadership, revealed Thursday in the Freeh report, the NCAA must use its authority to do what’s needed now: Shut down the Nittany Lions football program.
If the Freeh report released Thursday is accurate in its assessment of the university’s role in the worst scandal in college sports history, then the engine that enabled longtime child sexual predator Jerry Sandusky must be switched off, at least temporarily.
The good news is that the NCAA is at least examining what its role should be in this horrific mess.
The organization is awaiting Penn State’s response to a November letter sent by NCAA President Mark Emmert, in which Emmert requested answers to questions “concerning compliance with institutional control and ethics policies.” The key matter for the NCAA to determine is whether its authority to punish for “lack of institutional control” is as applicable to egregious criminal behavior as it is to providing extra benefits to teenagers.
If the NCAA expands the term’s traditional definition, it could severely punish the football program and athletic department. What happened at Penn State should be included under the umbrella.
More coverage of the Penn State scandal and the Freeh report from Washington Post Sports:
Sally Jenkins: Truth is, Paterno lied
Eugene Robinson: A coach’s shame
Freeh report will have a lasting impact
Jason Reid: NCAA should shut down Penn State football
Tracee Hamilton: Freeh report exposes culture of reverence
Joe Paterno’s only interview on Penn State scandal
Video: Joe Paterno speaks on the Sandusky scandal
What is the impact on Joe Paterno’s legacy?