Jesus Our Shepherd
The Sanctions
by Kristine Ward, NSAC

The NCAA decision is in on Penn State.

In money, the fine is tallied at $60 million compounded by the four year loss of bowl game revenue, plus the penalties of a four year ban on any post season play, significant loss of scholarships, and a five year probation and the stripping of 12 years of wins off of Joe Paterno's record.

There is and will continue to be debate over whether the penalty is harsh enough, too harsh or not within the NCAA's purview to levy.

But we believe it is important to say that this event may, and we emphasize may, in cautiously optimistic terms be looked back upon as the end of the beginning - the beginning of an igniting of a societal serious, real life, widespread effort at effectively coming to terms with the sexual abuse of children and the recognition of the inherent spawning grounds for it in institutions where immense power can reside unchecked and unchallenged.

The fact that this turn of events has as its pivot point in a state educational institution further damningly indicts the Catholic Church which took and continues to take a premeditated pass on the handling of the very same abuses: rape and sodomy of children by its appointed and anointed.

The Greek tragedy of Penn State is that this was the very program whose canopy was the slogan "Success with Honor."

The NCAA has mandated that the $60 million fine go to an endowment for programs preventing child sexual abuse and/or assisting the victims of child sexual abuse.

We raise our voice loudly here to call upon the NCAA to follow through on this mandate.

$60 million can be frittered away as easily in some circles as a $1 bill in most circles.

The assisting of victims in Pennsylvania can begin with the money to combat the muscled arm of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (aka the bishops) in the fight to pass the statute of limitations legislation.

The full force and influence of the universities of the Big Ten should be called into this arena to drive a symposium seeking the utmost in excellence both for prevention of child sexual abuse and assistance for victims.

This is not accomplished by writing a mandate.

This is accomplished by serious, dedicated, wide circle of disciplines cooperation - and strong and effective oversight.

We raise our voice loudly to call upon the NCAA to look seriously at - not in benign neglect or lack of reports look away from - the other Big Ten schools.

The Sandusky case is not a phenomenon of Penn State.

As with the Archdiocese of Boston, there was nothing in the baked beans or the waters of the Charles River in Boston that made it unique from other dioceses in regard to the sexual abuse of children, so in the Big Ten, the culture does not exist solely at a large university in a small college town in the middle of the state.

Penn State, it must be said, accepted the Freeh Report and has accepted the NCAA sanctions.

The Bishops of the Catholic Church got rid of the messengers who brought them and their Church the truth: the first National Review Board that had the guts to get in the bishops' faces with grit, were unceremoniously shown the door and replaced with wave upon wave of intentional mediocrity.

The NCAA mandated Penn State accept the appointment of an Athletics Integrity Monitor.

Where do Catholics go to get an Integrity Monitor?