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Thursday, July 19, 2012
J. Gordon Hylton's Proposed Penalty for Penn State: Forfeit All Wins after Paterno learned of Sandusky's crimes but failed to report them

In a comment to Howard's post on Paterno's statute, UVA Law and Marquette Law Professor J. Gordon Hylton -- the nation's leading expert on the intersection between sports, law and history -- suggested a penalty that I haven't heard elsewhere:
An appropriate penalty would be to require Penn State to forfeit all of its football victories since Paterno learned of Sandusky's criminal acts but failed to report them. (This might be 1998, or it might be earlier.)

This would remove Paterno's name from the top of the all-time coaching victories list and from any association with coaching excellence.

I'm not saying that this should be the only penalty, but it should be part of the penalty.

Makes a good deal of sense to me.


Not sure how punishing the athletes for something they had no knowledge of and is not related to football games accomplishes anything. I think the sad saga alone has torched Paterno's legacy.

Why has there been no attempt to separate the game on the field from this story? This was not a football crime but a crime by a football coach.

I do not see Arkansas forfeiting wins b/c of Bobby Petrino.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/19/2012 2:09 PM  

You can't unring the bell people saw those games they know the results and the school collected millions in revenue from ticket sales, donations, and TV rights from those games and will continue to because of them.

The better solution is to play three 10 game seasons with no more than five games at home. The revenue loss would roughly equal what those involved were paid while covering it up, it has real teeth, it avoids extreme harm to leaguge members and makes post-season hard but not impossible

Blogger Mark F -- 7/19/2012 10:55 PM  

I agree to the anonymous one.. You cant punish he athletes if they don;t know or knowledge about the said crime..

Anonymous Robert Jones -- 7/20/2012 4:44 AM  

The Arkansas situation can be distinguished on a number of points even though I'm as far from being a fan of them as you can get.

1. Petrino didn't commit a crime, other than arguably an obstruction related to reporting the details of the accident. He was fired because he violated the university hiring policy.

2. The administration when made aware did not engage in a cover-up.

3. Law enforcement connected to the university was involved early and essential to revealing key details.

4. As the facts started to emerge Petrino admitted his wrong-doing.

5. The victims in the Arkansas matter were the job candidates unfairly excluded from consideration for the position.

Blogger Mark F -- 7/20/2012 10:26 AM  

This is a messy situation, because penalizing the football team doesn't seem like you're punishing the right people. I'm not sure if this is the right response.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/20/2012 4:25 PM  

I don't get the people who say that you can't punish the athletes because they weren't aware of the crime. Thats how the NCAA does sanctions all the time. Not all Ohio state players knew about the illegal gifts but the school is punished. Current USC players had nothing to do with improper benefits for Reggie Bush but they had to bear the brunt of the punishment.

I think that its entirely reasonable to punish the football team for the wrongs of the Administration. The whole reason for the cover up was so the football team would not be harmed. If you punish the football team then it removes that incentive for all teams moving foward because the price for getting caught would simply be too high.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/23/2012 7:52 AM  

Gordon - It seems that your proposal was one of the items incorporated into the NCAA's sanctions that were announced today.

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 7/23/2012 11:11 AM  

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