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Missing the point of Penn State sanctions

Indisputably, an assistant football coach at Penn State University abused and raped children over a period of years. A great deal of evidence shows Penn State’s revered football coach, the late Joe Paterno, and other university officials were aware of allegations that the assistant coach was indeed sexually abusing minors.

At best, they failed in their duty to investigate the allegations against Jerry Sandusky. At worst, they helped cover them up.

Without question, a big reason the ongoing sexual abuse was allowed to occur is that no one wanted to see Penn State football tarnished in any way. For far too many people, the Nittany Lions football program is much more important than the safety of boys lured into showers and other situations by a football authority figure.

Now, count Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett among those who believe football is more important.

Unbelievably, Corbett – who as a member of Penn State’s board of trustees approved the heavy NCAA sanctions against the school – has now sued the NCAA, seeking to remove all the sanctions, which he described as “overreaching and unlawful.”

Corbett said almost nothing about child victims at a news conference in State College, Pa., where he announced his lawsuit. Instead, he whined that “these sanctions did not punish Sandusky, nor did they punish the others who have been criminally charged.”

Perhaps not. But the sanctions did send a clear message to Penn State and other universities that the safety of young children is more important than a football team’s reputation, and that anyone who demonstrated the opposite will be severely punished.

Corbett, incredibly, still didn’t get the message.

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