Penn State fans have made two pronounced assessments about the penalties announced yesterday against the school by NCAA President Mark Emmert which disturb them:
Ÿ The sanctions penalize the athletes and students, and not the individuals involved in the scandal that caused the penalties.
Ÿ The action by the NCAA came without due process.
Drue Haydt of Mahoning Township has been a Penn State football season ticket holder for 40 years, sticking with the school through good and bad football years.
Like some other PSU fans, he's upset with at least one of the penalties announced yesterday by Emmert against the school.
He said he feels the sanctions "hurt people who are completely innocent."
"I think my biggest concern about the whole thing is that the sanctions didn't hurt any of the people involved in what is a tragedy," Haydt commented.
He said it hurts current students because it will result in tuition increases. It hurts the athletes who had nothing to do with the scandal, and it will even affect the quality of the Blue Band in its recruitment of people.
"It's hurting so many people who are totally innocent and not the people involved," he said.
He continued, "Certainly Joe Paterno was implemented in it in some way."
He said he feels Paterno's involvement was in not doing more regarding the scandal.
Haydt says, "The board of directors had to know" what was happening and they should be punished, as well as former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley. Schultz and Curley are charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. They deny the allegations and are awaiting trial.
Bob Fetterman, also of Mahoning Township, responded to the penalties, "My initial thoughts, as a Penn State fan, is they seem awfully severe."
He indicated he feels that the penalty process was premature, stating, "I don't think we know all the legal ramifications. Due process has not played out in any way in what has occurred since last November."
Fetterman, a retired educator who is a Penn State football season ticket holder, explained, "In our country, you're innocent until proven guilty. I don't understand how the NCAA can step in and make a decision without hearing all the facts. I don't see how the NCAA can violate their own rules and make a decision without an investigation of its own."
"I have a lot of questions in my mind," he said.
Larry Neff of West Penn Township, a long-time season ticket holder, said he has "mixed emotions" on the matter.
"Penn State got what it deserved but they're taking it out on the wrong people," he said. "The kids had nothing to do with it. The team had nothing to do with it. There are four people who should be locked-up the rest of their lives."
He said he was referring to Jerry Sandusky, who has been convicted of sexually abusing young boys, sometimes on campus; Spanier, Schultz, and Curley.
Regarding Paterno, Neff said, "If someone can show me an email that he participated, I would have to think differently. I think he turned his back and could have done more (to prosecute Sandusky earlier)."
"They got what they deserve," Neff said of the university. "Money is God out there. It's been that way for a long time. Greed is a terrible thing."
"But it shouldn't be the kids who suffer," he added.
The Rev. Charles Niefert of Orwigsburg, retired pastor of St. Peter's Church, Mantzville, said he isn't deterred by the NCAA edict.
"I don't think it's going to affect the spirit of Penn State," he said. "We'll continue. We'll get through the four years and get back to where we are."
He added that he is disappointed to see the penalties imposed before the trials of Curley and Schultz were held.