LOCK HAVEN - Local residents out in the city yesterday had a multitude of feelings and emotions on the events at Penn State University the last couple of days.
Just 24 hours after the current PSU administration had the statue of Joe Paterno removed from in front of Beaver Stadium Sunday morning, the NCAA doled out unprecedented sanctions against the university's football team for officials allegedly knowing about, and trying to cover up, at least 10 sexual assaults of young boys by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky since 1998.
Penn State football was all but dismantled Monday by an NCAA ruling that wiped away 14 years of coach Joe Paterno's victories and imposed a mountain of fines and penalties, crippling a program whose pedophile assistant coach spent years molesting children, sometimes on school property.
The sanctions by the governing body of college sports included fines of $60 million, ordered Penn State to sit out the postseason for four years, capped scholarships at 20 below the normal limit for four years and placed football on five years' probation.
"I agree with everything with the exception of taking the wins away," said Kevin Van Amburg of Lock Haven. "You can't change history and you can't make those wins disappear. They already happened."
Meanwhile, Jeff Schlesinger of Lock Haven said he thinks the NCAA was hasty in its decision.
"I think they jumped the gun on the whole thing," he said. "The accusations may be true, but they were pretty quick pulling the trigger on this."
"I think they were way wrong to remove the wins," added Donna Dashem of Lock Haven. "Paterno wasn't the team. The football players are the ones who played and won those games. I also don't agree with taking away the bowl games for four years. The student-athletes had nothing to do with this. Paterno was wrong for not reporting, but he's dead now and can't defend himself."
Ricky Newman of Lock Haven said he's upset for the removal of Paterno's statue, and the unprecedented sanctions against the football program.
"It's sad what they did to Paterno's statue," he said. "It's Sandusky who did the crimes, not Paterno and not the football players."
Ellis Vuck of Castanea agreed.
"It doesn't make sense to me ... Are they going to tear down the buildings because that's where the rapes occurred?" he asked.
Meanwhile, Tara Andrus of Lock Haven said the bowl ban unfairly hurts the current players.
"I think it's wrong to ban the team from participating in bowl games for four years. It's not the players who did the crime, so why are they being punished?"
Meanwhile, the postings at the lockhaven.com website about the NCAA's unprecedented sanctions against Penn State were pretty uniform in sentiment Monday.
The NCAA slammed Penn State with a $60 million fine and the loss of all coach Joe Paterno's victories from 1998 to 2011.
The following comments display the range of feelings about the matter:
"Although I don't agree with punishing the current roster, or even the current coaching staff, I am glad that the program itself wasn't shut down. Even with the sanctions, their will still be games, and I suspect there will still be a large attendence at each game. Therefore, hotels, restaurants, shops, and other local businesses shouldn't be dealt a devastating blow. I guess what I mean to say is, a lot of businesses survive off of PSU, and at least they are not being punished for something that they had nothing to do with.
"Considering how horrific this entire tragedy has been, I think it's important to find at least one bright side."
"Way to punish the people that are not involved! What did the players past, present and future do to deserve this. I'm gonna be sick."
"I certainly do not agree with what a few men did at the university, but let's punish the proper people!"
"How can you take away student scholarships, I would think that is illegal as well...****e on families, start your law suits against the NCAA, they are too big for their britches!"
"The NCAA really overstepped its authority today...to punish innocent student athletes is unlawful, I would think, and to take away the wins, what does that have to do with anything? All fingers should point to Corbett who was the Attorney General when all this surfaced back years ago and he refused to do anything... How about hanging him? I will buy the rope!
"The only reason the wins were taken away from PSU, was to punish a dead man even more... This has nothing to do with football at PSU, it has to do with a couple of people making the wrong decisions ... If an investigation was done not by the perspective of the Board of Trustees, but by the Paterno family, I wonder what would come out. How come no one is pointing fingers at the DA or at Corbett, all could have been dealt with back then. Corbett wanted Freeh to do this investigation so that no fingers were pointed to him."
"In my mind, it all goes back to the DA's office in 1998. Had the accused been a regular working person, the abuse would have been stopped right then and there.
"The more I think about this the angrier I become. It makes me sick to think that this abuse was covered up all these years, and all because of money and power.
"And another thing - how many other victims are out there? Sandusky started the Second Mile charity in 1977, but reports of his crimes don't surface until 1994-1998.
"What about the 17 years in between 1977 and 1994? And what about prior to 1977? The man is in his late 60s. This could have been going on for 50 years or more!!"
"Simply unreal...a huge overstepping of authority by the NCAA and my only hope is that they somehow pay for what they've done here. So many things to question with the sanctions but one that really baffles me is the vacation of wins. What do the wins have to do with what happened here? Those wins were (not) garnered through a competitive advantage of any kind. And even if I buy the logic of it, why 1998? That incident was with the DA's office who refused to press charges."
"Vacation day today, so I watched the news conference. From what I understand, the $60M fine is supposed to go to some sort of fund to help prevent child sexual abuse but can't be used for anything at Penn State.
"I feel bad for the players, whose wins are now vacated from 1998 to 2011. The players had nothing to do with what happened."
"Wow, so let's get rid of any guilty party from the school, then levy such a heavy penalty against the innocent parties left at the school. Makes perfect sense. The guilty merely lose their jobs.
"If there aren't riots after this, I'll be surprised.
"Maybe I'm naive, but who the h*ll gets the $60M?"