PA Rep.: Sanctions a reminder of Penn State's 'moral' failure

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.), who represents the Pennsylvania district that houses Penn State University, called Monday's sanctions against the university's football program a reminder of its failure to report multiple cases of sexual abuse against children by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

"The NCAA sanctions serve as yet another reminder of the moral and institutional failures that allowed for horrific acts against innocent children to occur and subsequent pain and suffering that continues to plague the victims and their families," Thompson said Monday.

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"It appears that the recognized leaders of Penn State for years placed the reputation of one sports program over the safety of children, the accomplishments of a world class University, its students and half a million alumni, which is unfortunate to say the least," he added.

On Monday morning, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) penalized Penn State's football program for failing to report Sandusky's behavior.

The NCAA announced a $60 million fine against the school, which will fund anti-child abuse programs. Penn State was also banned from the post season for the next four years, and stripped of all of its wins since 1998, when the abuses were first reported but not followed up by former coach Joe Paterno or other Penn State officials.

The NCAA sanctions are short of the "death penalty" that some called for, a total suspension of the football program for a specified length of time. However, they are expected to significantly damage the Big Ten Conference program.

Thompson said the Penn State community "continues to digest" the findings of the Freeh report, which was conducted by former FBI Director Louie Freeh, and served as the basis for the NCAA sanctions. But he praised the university for not just requesting the report, but by living with its consequences.

"The fact that Penn State initiated the Freeh report and is cooperating with the investigations is a strong indicator that the University is moving forward and taking steps to restore honor and integrity to this institution and make certain that such tragic behavior never occurs again," he said.