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Locals weigh in on if Penn State should get "death penalty"

Officials buried allegations of sexual abuse
By: Sara Seyydin and the Associated Press Journal Staff Writer
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Members of the Auburn community say they are divided over whether Penn State?s football program should receive the ?death penalty? for its part in covering up the Joe Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. According to Associated Press reports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is investigating whether Penn State lost ?institutional control? over its athletic program and violated ethics rules. FBI Director Louis Freeh conducted an investigation on behalf of the school's board of trustees. Freeh's 267-page report, released last week, asserted that late football coach Joe Paterno and three top officials buried allegations against Sandusky, his retired defensive coordinator, more than a decade ago to protect the university's image. Sandusky was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. He awaits sentencing. The NCAA has said the death penalty, which would end the university?s football program, has not been ruled out. Joey Montoya, varsity head football coach at Placer High School, said ending the program at the university could hurt even more innocent people. He said while the decision would be difficult for officials to make, the mistakes of some people should not have the severity of affecting the entire community. ?I don?t think they should ban football from Penn State,? Montoya said. ?I think that would hurt a lot of innocent people and already a lot of innocent people have been hurt.? Placer High defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, who is entering into his senior year, had a total of 57 full scholarship offers before verbal committing to the University of Southern California earlier this week. Among those offers was one from Penn State. Montoya said of all of his interactions with recruiters during the process, he was most impressed by Penn State recruiter Larry Johnson. ?He was very respectful and humble. He treated Eddie, myself and the rest of the people around the campus like gold. He was very open and honest about the situation that is happening there, but at the same time remained loyal that something positive could ultimately come out of the situation.? Montoya added that eliminating the football program at Penn State could have a ripple effect across the whole campus. ?The next generation would not know who Penn State was,? Montoya said. ?The amount of money and revenue that the football program brings in, it doesn?t just bring it in for football.? He also said the scandal has probably already hurt the university and football program as it is. ?I am sure a lot of parents are thinking, ?I want my child to be safe,?? Montoya said. ?They are already fighting an uphill battle. I think that would just add insult to injury.? Penn State has already given $2.6 million in bowl revenues to its new center for child abuse research and treatment and to the Pennsylvania Coalition against Rape, a group that operates rape crisis centers across the state. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves here," Penn State President Rodney Erickson told The Associated Press as he conducted a round of media interviews in his office on Tuesday. "Let's wait for this process to unfold. President Emmert has said that the NCAA will take a deliberate and deliberative process in addressing this, so I don't think we should jump to any conclusions at this point." Bernhardt Peat, a Placer graduate who played at UC Berkley on a full-ride football scholarship and went on to play professional basketball in Germany, is also Vanderdoes?s grandfather. He said he remembers the last time the NCAA imposed the sanction on Southern Methodist University for extra benefits violations. ?Obviously this is much more severe. That definitely would be justifiable,? Peat said. ?I don?t know all the allegations. I don?t know how much of it is true or not. It?s kind of a tough call to make, but if everything is true, what happened out there, than obviously that would be a fair assessment of the death penalty. It ruined a lot of lives.? Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.