Gayle Barnes was one of the 12 jurors to decide Jerry Sandusky’s fate.
But on Monday morning, she was doing what many Penn Staters were: following the NCAA announcement, trying to absorb what it could mean.
“It’s going to be a hardship for Penn State, for the fans, for everyone,” Barnes said.
Joshua Harper, another local resident who sat on the Sandusky jury, had mixed feelings about the NCAA penalties. He said he thinks the $60 million fine is warranted, but punishing current players and students is unreasonable.
“I really feel that the sanctions on the current football program are just punishing the wrong people,” Harper said. “Who’s this going to hurt? It’s going to hurt the student-athletes. It’s going to hurt local businesses.”
Harper, juror 5 in the Sandusky case, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Penn State. A physics and chemistry teacher at Bellefonte Area High School, Harper has been on campus teaching a summer program.
“It’s like they want someone to swing at. They need to deliver a punch and whoever it lands on,” gets it, he said of the NCAA.
Barnes was juror 3 in the Sandusky child sex abuse case. But, she and her husband are also Penn State fans who have held season tickets since 1976.
Like others, she said she knew something was going to be done, but she didn’t know exactly what to expect from the NCAA.
The NCAA didn’t opt for the so-called death penalty, instead imposing the fine and other stiff sanctions on Penn State.
Barnes was still trying to understand what that will mean for the community.
The State College resident watched coverage of the decision, and said she didn’t know which penalty would have been more appropriate: “What we’re getting or if we shouldn’t have played football for one year.”
The university and community will have to adapt to the former.