Put Me In Coach: Penn State student athletes caught in wrong place at wrong time

Just this past week, Penn State’s students and faculty alike watched as the empire that longtime football coach Joe Paterno and his staff spent decades building, crumble in front of their eyes in a matter of days. What happened at Penn Sate and with long time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been well documented. No punishment that any governing body could muster would do the victims justice, at least not deep down. What happened in Happy Valley is unlike anything that has ever swept the college athletic landscape. The NCAA handed down a penalty of a $60 million dollar fine as well as a four year bowl ban for the football program. Oh yeah, lets not forget every victory from 1998-2011 is wiped out of the record books. That is 112 victories off of the slate for Paterno. I think I just felt him turn in his grave. While Paterno may have passed on, it is the current players and the living Happy Valley community that are suffering. There is no question that punishment had to be handed out. Some action had to be taken. While the NCAA is allowing current Penn State players to transfer to any other school and not have to sit out the standard season, that leaves little consolation. The fact of the matter is, what the NCAA is doing to the university as a whole is completely warranted and I support them 100 percent. The powers that be, or so it seemed, didn’t use the full extent of their power or even the moral compass part to do the right thing at the right time. They are paying for it. What I don’t support is the punishment handed down to the football program. It punishes current players who had nothing to do with the horrible acts that took place long before they ever set foot on campus. It’s not fair at all. The thing is, it has to happen. They are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. That happens in today’s society. It happens in a place where the atmosphere seems as pure as the white on the athletic uniforms. The true color here, however, is the other Penn State color- dark blue. In this case, it represents a big, painful bruise that may never go away.