Lifestyle & Belief

Death penalty for Penn State may be looming


Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno watches his team during practice on November 9, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania.


Rob Carr

Penn State football may be facing the death penalty after the release of the Freeh report last week. 

On July 12, GlobalPost reported on the release of the report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh into the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. The report found that Joe Paterno and other top school officials failed to alert police about possible child sex abuse by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The report also claimed that Paterno and others repeatedly concealed facts to avoid bad PR. 

In an interview with PBS, NCAA president Mark Emmert said that the committee has yet to make a decision on how Penn State will be punished. According to Time, Emmert "refused to take anything off the table," including the death penalty. 

In college athletics the death penalty simply means that the NCAA has the power to ban a school from competing in a sport for at least one year. It is the harshest punishment that a NCAA member school can receive. 

The Chicago Tribune noted that Penn State may in fact self-impose penalties including suspending the program, reducing scholarships and eliminating the postseason.

According to the LA Times, only one other football program has been given the death penalty. In 1986, Southern Methodist received the penalty as a result of recruiting violations. The school was barred from competing during the 1987 season, all home games in 1988 were canceled, it was banned from bowl games and TV through 1989.

More from GlobalPost: Joe Paterno letter: A response to Freeh report? (VIDEO)