President Barack Obama said Thursday that he supports the sanctions levied by the NCAA against Penn State for its role in former coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse.
President Obama, who was speaking to 97.1 The Fan in Columbus, Ohio, weighed in on the draconian sanctions from NCAA president Mark Emmert, who last week took the bold move to ban the Nittany Lions from the postseason for four years, reduced scholarships for that same period of time and levied a $60 million fine. It was unprecedented sanctions for the NCAA, especially since it was in response to a criminal matter where the proper recourse is the court system.
The President, a former constitutional law professor, didn't mind the NCAA stepping in the way that it did, even if it meant potentially angering fans in a key swing state.
In the 2008 election, State College went for then Senator Obama by an 11-point margin. That point-spread didn't seem to factor into the President's remarks.
"I've been a big admirer of Penn State football," President Obama told the show. "Obviously Joe Paterno was a great football coach, but there's some things that are more important than sports and making sure our kids are safe is more important than sports. I think it was appropriate to send that message that we just have bigger priorities here and that we're always looking after our kids and we have an affirmative responsibility to make sure that we're preventing predators from taking advantage of them."
He was tad bit more complimentary of the station's hometown college, The Ohio State University. The Buckeyes are getting set for their first year under head coach Urban Meyer and the election year President didn't start a war in this battleground state, even as the program faces their own sanctions.
"The thing about Ohio State football, the legacy of that program - a couple years without the bowl is not going to crush the team," the President said. "They're still going to get great recruits."
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