General Motors is currently re-evaluating its sponsorship relationship with Penn State University, reports Automotive News. The recent Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal that has torn the university apart has not only drawn the censure of the the victims, the law and the NCAA, but it may cause sponsors to jump ship en masse.
Silencing the roar of the Nittany Lions
GM spokesman Tom Henderson told the automotive press that his company has not made a definite decision as to whether it will terminate all dealings with Penn State. He did say that whatever the decision – or whether any decision will actually be made in the first place – General Motors will play this close to the vest. The specific details of the automaker’s sponsorship with Penn State are also somewhat unclear, beyond the fact that a partnership exists. It is known, however, that numerous universities partner with the regional offices of GM, according to NCAA records.
The fall of a program
Earlier this week, NCAA officials responded to a report of institutional misconduct filed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. The report, which concludes that administrators at Penn State including the late head football coach Joe Paterno covered up allegations of child sex abuse made against former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, was particularly damning in its condemnation of Penn State’s lack of concern for its victims and dishonesty in hiding the truth. Penn State was subsequently fined $60 million by the NCAA – the equivalent of a year’s profit for the football program – and a series of other disciplinary bans were issued. The first was a four-year bowl ban for the football program. In addition, the total number of scholarships was drastically reduced, and Joe Paterno and the football program were were forced to cede victories from the years 1998 through 2011.
This officially dropped Joe Paterno from his spot atop the list of career victories by an NCAA Division I football coach. The former number two coach on the all-time wins list, Eddie Robinson of Grambling University, is now officially the winningest coach in NCAA history, again. Paterno passed Robinson after Robinson retired in 1997, his 57th year at Grambling University.
State Farm pulls ads from Penn State broadcasts
Even though official word has yet to come down from General Motors as to whether it will break all times with Penn State, other parties have been more decisive. State Farm Insurance has gone on record as saying that it will no longer air advertisements during Penn State’s televised home football games.
“We will not directly support Penn State football this year,” said State Farm spokesman Dave Phillips. “We just feel it was the best decision.”
Advertisers like State Farm have considered pulling ads and cutting ties with Penn State ever since Jerry Sandusky, 68, was arrested on child-sex abuse charges last November, according to the Associated Press. Sandusky was subsequently found guilty on 45 charges of child-sex abuse. It is believed that Sandusky will spend his remaining days in prison..