Penn State Alumna Says NCAA Sanctions Premature

In the wake of this morning's unprecedented sanctions against Penn State University's football program — Houston-area alums are regrouping in support of their alma mater.

The NCAA stopped short of suspending the football program at Penn State, but they levied $60 million in fines and stripped the school of 14 seasons’ worth of victories, among other penalties.

Jen Lemanski is president of the Penn State Alumni Association Houston Chapter and is also a volunteer high school recruiter for the university. She says she doesn’t necessarily think the sanctions are too harsh, but that they came too soon.

“At this point, what we know with everything right now, I’m not sure if this was the right time for the NCAA to come down with sanctions. I think due process should have happened. I think the criminal courts should have handled it first.”

Lemanski says she thinks Penn State is taking the right steps to recover from the scandal.

For example, because she’s a volunteer recruiter, the university now requires her to take an online course on how to recognize and report signs of child abuse.

Lemanski says despite all that’s happened, she’s still proud of her school.

“I still have the stickers on my car. I still wear the t-shirts. Because I figure if somebody asks me about it, I can be a positive voice for the university. And I got a great education at Penn State and I’m still proud to be a Penn Stater. We will rally and we will move forward and I hope we do become the national leader in preventing child abuse.”

Over the weekend, Penn State officials ordered the removal of a statue of former football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno and other school officials allegedly concealed or failed to report suspected cases of child sex abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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