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about 3 months ago

Croke Park Director: Penn State Football Was ‘Rightly’ Punished by NCAA

Croke Park

The Croke Park Stadium director said the NCAA “rightly” punished Penn State in the wake of the Sandusky Scandal, according to the Irish Times and picked up by Mark Wogenrich of the Morning Call.

Peter McKenna, who directs the Irish stadium where Penn State will open its season, also told the Irish Times that the scandal brought hesitation about bringing Penn State, and that it was “something that we thought long and hard about.” The Croke Park director said they eventually brought Penn State because of its “emphatic” response to the scandal.

“They were penalized and, dare I say it, rightly so,” McKenna told the paper. “In any sport or organization they are abhorrent activities. And it is worth talking about. It is worth saying there is a better way and I think Penn State has adopted a better way, taking an immediate and emphatic response to it.”

The game, just 22 days away, was scheduled last July, about a year after the leveling of the NCAA’s sanctions. Part of the appeal of the game for the Nittany Lions is the bowl-like atmosphere that current conditions of the sanctions take away until 2016.

“It was absolutely something that we thought long and hard about,” McKenna told the paper. “We have a very strong child protection ethos and policy within the GAA. What we felt was that the college handled this very well…They were immediate and emphatic in the way they responded to the issues of child sexual abuse. I think they put in place a whole series of protocols as well.”

Officials from Dublin expect more than 20,000 visitors from across the pond to be in the city for the weekend of the game and around 45,000 tickets have been sold, according to StateCollege.com. They expect 55,000 will be sold by game-time, about two-thirds of the capacity of Croke Park.

Football - The Penn State Nittany Lions football program currently resides in the Big Ten conference and has won two National Championships. Known for tradition, Beaver Stadium, and Joe Paterno, the program is a point of pride and solidarity in the community. Read more