Reporting Michelle Durham
By Michelle Durham
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The NCAA announced unprecedented sanctions against Penn State’s football program on Monday for the alleged cover-up of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.
The imposed sanctions include a 4-year postseason ban, a big loss in scholarships, vacated wins and a $60-million fine. The NCAA’s punishment against the university’s football program brought on plenty of reaction in the Philadelphia area, including from Penn State alumni.
“I think it’s a sad day,” says Philadelphia attorney Eileen Hurley, who graduated from Penn State in 1993. “I understand as all alumni do that something had to be done. And I think we are just trying to look forward to restoring our good name.”
According to Penn State Alumni’s Delaware County Chapter President John Gallagher, that process has already begun.
“They’ve already started,” he says. “We’re still Penn State proud and we’re not going to allow this tragic event to change all the good that has been done.”
But Hurley admits, the scandal has taken its toll on Penn State alumni.
“I’ve seen people defriend people on Facebook over it,” she says. “I’ve seen people saying really personal attacks because of an opinion they had. The issue of child sex abuse is very divisive, but also love of your university that molded you, that you felt so a part of — when someone attacks that, people really get very riled up.”
Gallagher has seen it, too.
“Anytime there’s something this large, the biggest mistake that anyone can make is to overreact,” he says.
Hurley says the focus now needs to be on the victims and to shine the spotlight on the under reported crime of child sexual abuse. She says Penn State has the largest student run philanthropy — which benefits children — and she fully expects they will take what has happened and try to help victims of child sex abuse.
“I think there is still a tremendous amount of Penn State pride, ” she says. “And I think they’re looking forward to helping victims of this type of crime.”