Earlier this week, the NCAA imposed sweeping penalties on the Penn State football program. The penalties, which were in response to the heinous findings in the now-infamous Freeh Report, will likely cripple the Nittany Lions for years, if not decades.
The Freeh Report confirmed everyone’s worst nightmares. High-level officials at Penn State, including former President, Graham Spanier and venerated Head Football Coach Joe Paterno, showed a “total disregard for the safety and welfare” of the boys molested by former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky. Given the nature of the abhorrent behavior among Penn State officials at the highest levels, the death penalty is the only appropriate penalty. The NCAA opted not to impose it. So Penn State itself should. Given the nature of the abhorrent behavior among Penn State officials at the highest levels, the death penalty is the only appropriate penalty. The NCAA opted not to impose it. So Penn State itself should.
This is where Penn State can learn something from FAMU. Around the same time the horrible details surrounding Sandusky’s actions were beginning to surface, Robert Champion, a drum major in FAMU’s renowned Marching 100, was killed during a hazing ritual.
Like the Nittany Lions, the Marching 100 is FAMU’s grandest and most beloved symbol. The band is regularly called to perform at events all over the country, from NFL halftime shows to presidential inaugurations. The Marching 100 is so popular that, at FAMU football games, it is often a bigger draw than the football team.
But to the disappointment of many, the band will not be around next fall, suspended by former President James Ammons through spring 2013. Ammons gave the Marching 100 the death penalty. And while hundreds of innocent student-musicians will suffer due to the bad acts of a relative few, the self-imposed suspension was undoubtedly the right decision.
Penn State should take a cue from FAMU. Referenced from South Florida Sun-Sentinel