SNAP: Penn State got off easy

Now that I’ve got your attention, rest assured this is not an opinion piece.

I think the NCAA did a fine job, but I am not a Penn State grad, so my passion is in check on this one. But Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) was not pleased with the decision.

In a press release, SNAP was disappointed that the football program was not suspended.

Their argument is one of comparison. Southern Methodist University got the death penalty for paying players. In SNAP’s view, the NCAA considers impermissible benefits a greater crime than the rape of young boys.

Vacating wins and a ban on bowl games is similar to the punishment given to Ohio State for having players who traded football gear for tattoos.

“This is not a punishment that is equal to the horrific crimes that happened at Penn State,” SNAP said in its press release.

SNAP is a fine organization and these comparisons are certainly valid. The organization has its own frustrations fighting for victims of priest abuse. Those numbers are sobering.

As the USA Today noted, more than 6,100 accused priests since 1950. More than 16,000 known victims.

And $2.5 billion in settlements and therapy bills for victims, attorneys fees and costs to care for priests pulled out of ministry from 2004 to 2011.

But the simple comparisons SNAP uses are a little like comparing apples to oranges. By all accounts, these are the most severe penalties the NCAA has ever handed down. And we can’t forget the $60 million penalty, which will go towards abuse prevention programs.

And I firmly believe that if the NCAA made its decision in February or March, Penn State would have received the dreaded death penalty. But here we are five weeks until kickoff and it would create a logistical and scheduling nightmare to pull the plug on Penn State’s 2012 season.

So the NCAA did a good job standing up for the victims of Jerry Sandusky. What do you think — not harsh enough or too much?

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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One Response to SNAP: Penn State got off easy

  1. Sean says:

    I’ve seen some analyses that suggest that Penn State would have been better off with the “death penalty” than what they wound up consenting to.

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