In a bit of a surprise move, Penn State University will pay the record $2.4 million in fines that the United States Department of Education levied against the school as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Penn State Will Pay Sandusky Fines
The fines, levied against Penn State for what the Dept. of Education determined was a failure to report campus crime, cover violations spanning a 23-year time period. The time span begins in 1988, when the first complaint against Sandusky surfaced, to 2011, when Sandusky was formally charged with sexual assault.
The deadline for Penn State to decide whether or not to challenge the fines was Friday, Nov. 25, and according to a report by Susan Snyder of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the university thought that appealing the fines wasn’t the best course of action. It’s understandable why Penn State made the decision, even if wasn’t the most fiscally-prudent move.
Why Penn State Opted to Pay the Fines
Just weeks after losing a civil suit to former assistant football coach Mike McQueary, Penn State is ready to do everything it can to put the Sandusky drama behind it.
Appealing the fines would have at least extended the proceedings, and there is no guarantee that an appeal would have resulted in a reduction of the fines. Considering the legal fees associated with an appeal, it could be argued that the university actually is saving itself money by deciding not to challenge the fines.
In addition, extending the drama could have negative consequences from a public opinion perspective. Appealing the fines could have a similar perception effect as the cover-up did, while paying the fines could have the opposite effect of creating a perception of accountability.
While this doesn’t spell the end of the drama for former Penn State officials – individuals like ex-school president Graham Spanier have yet to stand trial for allegedly covering up or ignoring Sandusky’s crimes – it is nearly the end for Penn State as an entity. Agreeing to pay these fines puts the university a big step closer to moving on.