Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An open letter to the President of the NCCA, Mark Emmert

My purpose is to respectfully examine some of the NCAA's sanctions and add a number constructive criticisms.  Below is the open letter I've emailed to Dr. Mark Emmert.  To donate directly to a charity that supports victims of abuse, you might consider Prevent Child Abuse America.

Dear Dr. Emmert,

First of all, thank you for taking the matter of ethics at Penn State University seriously.  A culture that places athletics above the wellbeing of children obviously needs to be reformed.  This, unfortunately, is the case throughout the nation, and I'm sure you'd agree this isn't only the case at State College.  With that said, the Penn State situation may be viewed as an opportunity to set an example, so I realize that that's where your intentions lie.

I disagree with those who would question your motives or would otherwise attack your integrity.  However, I wish to offer a constructive criticism of some of the sanctions leveled against Penn State.  I feel it would be more beneficial to allow Penn State to continue playing in bowl games the next four years, and in addition, provide them with an incentive to donate a significant portion of their bowl revenue to charities that help the victims of abuse.  Some of the sanctions already accomplish this, e.g. the $60 million fine.  But, why stop with that if supporting charities is so important (and it is important)?  Why not use the positive results of the outstanding young men who compete on the football field in bowl games to support these charities?  By preventing Penn State from playing in bowl games, these sanctions have the unintended effect of preventing such contributions, in addition to punishing the players and new coaching regime that had nothing to do with these crimes.

Moreover, the absolution of Penn State's victories from 1998-2011 may be a symbolic gesture against Paterno, but it's also too harsh, in my estimation, with respect to the players who won these games.  If the NCAA is going to punish Paterno's legacy, why not have his name removed from the wins list, while simultaneously allowing the Penn State team's victories to remain?

I make these points in order to state along with you that while there ought to be sanctions, we ought to minimize the harm done to those who are innocent.  There is no question that the greatest victims are those who have been inflicted with abuse.  Nevertheless, the masses should not suffer for the sins of a few, especially when there are options to minimize such suffering.  The victims do not benefit from such severe sanctions, and I think we have an opportunity to help them further if we ease up on some of the punishments.  Those responsible for these crimes, including those who have covered them up, are subject to our criminal system.  I respectfully ask that you reconsider these sanctions, and I thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Doug Benscoter, M.T.S.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the best way to keep this very sensitive issue a priority is to play the game and use this opportunity to benifit the real victims via charities. Great letter, Doug! We continue to pray for all the young boys involved and as difficult as it is, we need to pray for those who committed and had the authority to stop these horrible acts of violence.