BOSTON (CBS) – The NCAA has slammed Penn State with big fines and penalties for failing to act in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Few people will feel the impact of those sanctions more than this year’s incoming freshman.
“I think the sanctions in some ways are harsh,” says Ryan Breton.
Breton, of New Hampshire, is heading to Penn State at the end of August. The high school graduate already has his football season tickets, but he is not sure what lies ahead.
“Where I love sports, it is very disappointing,” says Breton. “I expected to go to a school where football is a huge tradition and now we don’t know what it will be in the years to come.”
Ryan applied to Penn State in October. The scandal would not break until November. By the time his acceptance letter arrived in January, he was making plans to attend a very different university.
Dan Lebowitz of Northeastern University’s Sports In Society program says students like Ryan will learn a very different lesson about colleges and athletics.
“We need to get back to a point where academic institutions that have great athletics find some medium between the two,” says Lebowitz. “Where athletics do not trump the integrity of the institution, don’t trump the academic intentions of the institution.”
And Lebowitz says the current sanctions instead of the “death penalty” provide everyone with a teachable moment.
“The death penalty kind of puts the issue away. Penn State goes off the radar,” says Lebowitz. “In many respects this gives the chance to see what are they going to do in the next four years? What are the changes going to be?”
As for Ryan, he will be witness to all those changes over the next four years.