Penn State sanctions echo through community
Published 8:44 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Many in this leafy, vibrant college town worry the temporary evisceration of Penn State’s football program might inflict similar damage on a community that, for years, thrived as fans flocked to home games at the massive football stadium and a far-flung alumni base stayed connected by loyalty — and by checkbook.
Some business operators saw the same silver lining that many survivors do after a near-death accident: They had feared a complete shutdown of Penn State’s football program by the NCAA.
“Football is absolutely intertwined with the university, therefore the town,” said graduate student Will Ethier. “Such hard hits really will hit the town economically, as well as a community. Penn State, Penn State football, State College, they’re all absolutely intertwined. If one gets sanctioned, everybody else gets sanctioned. So it’s really tough on everybody.”
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Penn State’s powerhouse football program sustained an unprecedented blow on Monday as the university agreed to a $60 million fine, a four-year ban from postseason play and a cut in the number of football scholarships it can award — the price it will pay for having looked the other way while former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky brought boys onto campus and molested them.
The NCAA also erased 14 years of victories, wiping out 111 of coach Joe Paterno’s wins and stripping him of his standing as the most successful coach in the history of big-time college football.
The school meekly accepted its punishment, pledging to hold itself to high standards of honesty and integrity.