On Monday, the NCAA hit Penn State with harsh football and university sanctions. Heavy scholarship losses? Check. Four year postseason ban? Check. Vacating 111 wins from Paterno? Check. $60 million in fines and loss of B1G bowl proceeds? Check and check.
It’s easy to say that Mark Emmert overstepped his bounds as NCAA president, and it’s easy to say the Freeh report reaches some “interesting” conclusions. Heck, there’s most likely some truth to those statements. Unfortunately, our conclusions don’t matter. As unfair as all of this has played out, it’s time for Penn State to move on.
As students, it’s reasonable to be angry at the penalties laid down. However, don’t sulk and lament that Penn State football won’t be relevant for years to come. If you want the football team to rebound as soon as possible, go to all the games. Chant “WE ARE” and “PENN STATE” as loud as you can. Don’t respond to any of the Sandusky taunts that will inevitably come from opposing fans. Continue making Beaver Stadium a terrible place for opposing teams. Don’t lose faith in Bill O’Brien or the program, no matter how tough it may get. Show the current players and recruits that they should care about the re-growth of Penn State just as much as you do. That they have the chance to be more than just a football team. That they can be a symbol of change at Penn State.
As for those who say Penn Staters don’t care about child abuse, don’t feel the need to argue with them. Take the high road. If you really want to prove them wrong, encourage your organizations to make donations toward child abuse charities. Wear blue to the Blue Out games. Raise even more money than last year for THON. Encourage others to go on canning trips. Do it FTK. Show the world that there is more than just a “football culture” at Penn State.
Dwelling in the past is only one way to dig the university in a bigger hole. If the university is ready to move on, it has to do so through change, and the student body must help. If you really are angered about the NCAA sanctions and the public perception of Penn State, give the world reasons to believe Penn State will change for the better and come out of this a stronger university.
Don’t just sit back and watch it happen.