Penn State is being urged to shut down its football program

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[This post was corrected at 1:40 p.m. See note at bottom.]

Legal experts and educators are imploring Penn State to shut down its football program before the NCAA doles out penalties.

The penalties for Penn State are expected to be severe after an investigation revealed that Penn State officials covered up a child-abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said he’s considering the so-called death penalty for Penn State, a temporary ban from competition.


Geoffrey Rapp, a sports law professor at the University of Toledo, told Bloomberg News that Penn State would be best advised to punish itself before the NCAA makes an example out of the university.

“The only punishment that really fits this crime is the death penalty,” Rapp said. “This ultimately is a failure at the highest level, and the death penalty really addresses the institutional culture that’s at fault in this case.”

If the football program underwent a temporary moratorium, it could cost the school and surrounding community upward of $70 million, according to Bloomberg, which cited an unnamed economic study.

Jason Lanter, a professor of psychology at Pennsylvania’s Kutztown University, also suggested that Penn State show remorse for its checkered past by showing the nation that it values integrity more than athletics.

“I’d like to see Penn State put the hammer down and say, ‘We understand it’s going to do damage to the NCAA, to the Big Ten, to Penn State, but we need to throw football on the back burner for a year or two to figure stuff out,’” Lanter said.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 criminal counts for abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. Multiple high-ranking school officials, including former football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier, failed to stop the abuses from happening.


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Correction: An earlier version of this post attributed Rapp’s quotes and the possible cost to the school and universtiy of a temporary moratorium to Associated Press rather than Bloomberg.