At times things didn't seem like they could get worse, but it appears Penn State has survived the storm and can now officially begin the long-term recovery process. While it won't be easy and there will likely be setbacks along the way, the worst should be over.
The past couple weeks have been tough. First, the Freeh Report was released and didn't hold back from its criticism against several former high-ranking officials at the school for their lack of action when it came to Jerry Sandusky.
It's a list that included former head football coach Joe Paterno. After the findings were released, the school ultimately decided it had to take down the iconic statue of Paterno to help everyone begin to move past the scandal.
The second big hit came on Monday when the NCAA handed down its punishment. Between a hefty fine, loss of scholarships, four-year postseason ban and vacated wins, the sanctions turned out to be beyond what many people expected.
Penn State's football program will probably never be the same and it's likely going to take the better part of a decade, if not more, before the Nittany Lions get back on track.
All that said, the most important thing now is recovery. Not only for the athletics program, but for the university as a whole.
Ever since the scandal erupted more than eight months ago, Penn State has taken a lot of hits, and rightfully so. Credit goes to the new leadership group, such as president Rodney Erickson, for taking all penalties in an upstanding manner.
Now that the school knows what the football program must deal with and has done everything possible to understand what went wrong that led to the entire mess, it's time to start moving forward again.
At least everybody in the Penn State community can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. A long journey remains ahead before the school emerges, but at least it's not in total darkness anymore.
It probably doesn't seem like it now, especially for the athletes who will be forced to make tough decisions about their future in the coming days, but Penn State should eventually emerge much stronger across the board due to the ordeal.
Nobody should expect the recovery process to go quickly or smoothly, but as long as progress is made, a sense of normalcy should slowly return.
Things will be anything but normal in Penn State's new world, though.
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