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OPINION: Texas A&M must pay attention to Penn State scandal

Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

 

As Penn State heard the sanctions that the NCAA was imposing, nowhere in Monday morning’s press conference did the words “death penalty” appear. Yet what Penn State got for covering up 14 years’ worth of pain and shattering of children’s lives from the child sex crimes that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky committed, was a life sentence.

This is where the punishment fits the crime. The image of Penn State will be hard to sell in recruitment. Penn State has received a four year bowl ban which includes participation in the Big 10 Conference title game, a reduction in scholarships (10 initial and 20 total by 2016),  a $60 million dollar fine in which Penn State must pay to the endowment for "external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims.” Penn State also has had all victories from 1998-2011 vacated, moving Joe Paterno to 12th in victories, dropping from first with 409 to 298.

Penn State and the late Joseph Vincent Paterno will forever have their legacies tarnished. Yes JoePa wasn’t the one who was committing the crimes, but the fact that he placed the image of his football program over the lives of children, enabled a monster like Sandusky to commit his heinous crimes. The fact that Penn State’s athletic director and president took part in the cover up of a program over lives warrants the severe punishment that Penn State received.

Texas A&M and universities all around the country must pay attention to what has happened in Happy Valley as the NCAA set the punishment for Penn State.

Football is not greater than the lives of the people.

Sports should not be greater than a university, it is academics after all that make a university.

As Texas A&M begins its inaugural season in the SEC, in where some may call it the “minor league” for the NFL, must have in mind that the football program must not take precedence over human values and basic principle of civility. Yes football is the biggest source of revenue, especially in SEC universities, but not one life is less that any monetary value. Students do not go to school to be football’s footnote, but to earn a degree to better one’s future.

New athletic director Eric Hyman and new head coach Kevin Sumlin must guide Texas A&M to restore its football glory but should know never to sacrifice the innocence of life nor the values of people over wins and loses.

Here at A&M, we live by the values of the Aggie Code of Honor. From the first day that a freshman walks on campus, it is instilled in our social fabric to never “Lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.” If a situation would ever come to cross at Texas A&M, I believe everyone would agree that our administration, our athletics department would stand by the code as we do and take action against victims and place human life over the value of a sporting program.

Words cannot describe the situation that has unfurled at Penn State, but it can be simply put: People make universities thrive, not a win-loss record.

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