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State College Residents and Penn State Alumni React to Penn State Football's NCAA Sanctions

by on July 24, 2012 6:00 AM

Penn State alumni and State College residents spent Monday attempting to absorb the blow dealt to Penn State in the form of unprecedented sanctions.

In addition to being fined $60 million by the NCAA, the football program lost scholarships, is banned from postseason bowl game play for four years, players are allowed to transfer free of penalty and Penn State has vacated all of its wins from 1998-2011.

Penn State President Rodney Erickson agreed to the terms and signed an agreement that the NCAA sanctions would not be appealed.

The announcement of the severe sanctions could be felt on-campus and downtown. Students crowded around the big television sets in the HUB-Robeson Center to watch NCAA president Mark Emmert's press conference and conversation in downtown State College lingered on the massive blow dealt to the football program.

Alumni, local officials and supporters of the university all had something to say.

George Arnold, Director of the Downtown Improvement District:

"I think it's too early to tell exactly what it means. Is our radar up? Yes.

"Are we paying attention to what's going on? Absolutely. Are we pulling together to stay connected? Yes.

"And by 'we' in that regard, I mean different community business leaders in downtown State College. Around State College as a whole, we want to know how we might be able to be helpful."

Jim Dodge, Class of '98:

"The scholarship loss only hurts those that come after the problem, not solve the lack of control Curley, Schultz, and Spanier had. How was 1998 chosen to vacate wins if not enough evidence was found by the DA or the police? The NCAA seems to have just figured out their own way of wiping Joe Paterno out of their record books.

"The fine is right on and probably should have been more. Why not reduce the scholarship and bowl ban penalty to allow the team to make more money and then have an additional yearly payment for the next 25 years for sexual abuse victims?

"This should be about changing a culture and helping victims, not about eliminating a program off the map. These sanctions not only hurt players that were not part of the egregious acts of a pedophile but in no way did his actions help the football team win more games or compete at a higher level."

Cindy Siggins, State College resident and Penn State Class of '92:

"Those of us affiliated with Penn State and State College have been riding this out like a tiny ship caught in a perfect storm.

"As I reflect on all that has transpired since November, I think it's best summed up by saying that on the all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely stick, we have Penn State officials, (namely Spanier, Curley and Schultz) on one end and the NCAA on the other, the tragic result is that Penn State has been pulled apart.

"Like the current ads I've heard on the radio I truly believe that We Are So Much More, We ARE Penn State and may I add: We WILL Overcome."

James Wegielewski, Penn State Class of '02:

"Regarding today's sanctions, I feel they reached too far in punishing current players. It's disappointing that on the surface the BOT appears to have done little to defend them. I can only begin to imagine the balancing act, especially weighing the rights and feelings of the victims, but the current students (and their futures) are being punished for things they didn't do.

"For example, instead of Bowl ban, Penn State could have suggested forfeiting all bowl proceeds to sponsor victim awareness and support campaign for XX number of years. That would have allowed students to play (and not be punished) with money being generated to be used to further advance an awareness drive.

"My biggest concern is the public's perceived accuracy and weight of the Freeh Report. The overall reaction to it is simply staggering to me. The report is no better than an investigative journalist who wrote a gripping expose piece who only relied on one source. This report did not have subpoena power, and could not persuade people to talk with them. In many places it read as an editorial and not an objective report.

"Conclusions were reached without concrete evidence. While it's an important step in understanding what went wrong, as an alum I feel like we're still missing a considerable amount of the puzzle. I'm appalled that many haven't recognized that, including the BOT, and we're just flying down this path without all the facts."

Vern Squier, President and CEO of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County announced via email Monday the CBICC will host a "very important member and community discussion," on Thursday. The full email is below:

"In these times of economic and community uncertainty the CBICC is, and should be, the voice of business and economic development in Centre County. The NCAA sanctions are now known and while more criminal and civil actions are pending, it is crucial we continue to accept our responsibilities and exert our leadership in the community/county and the region.

"The CBICC will be hosting an important member/community discussion on Thursday, July 26, 2012, to allow you, our members and our partners, to dialogue with us about the future. In fact, our commitment to future economic development, bolstered by our partners, can be a focus for many as we chart our course into the future. This meeting will not be overly structured but is meant to be an opportunity to hear from people and harness good ideas and energy.

"The meeting will be held at Hoag's Celebration Hall beginning at 8:00 a.m. (registration will begin at 7:45 a.m.) and there will be no cost to attend (coffee/tea will be served). However, space is limited and registrations are required. To register, please click HERE. Registrations are due by noon on Wednesday, July 25.

"We hope you will be able to join us in this important discussion!"

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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