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We are the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Please join us as we forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.

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Statement on Penn State Sanctions and Ray Rice Termination


September 9, 2014
Contact: Tara Ballesteros

Athletic organizations around the country need to value victims more than they do the financial bottom line. While the National Center for Victims of Crime applauds the NFL and especially the Baltimore Ravens decision to terminate Ray Rice’s  contract, we were startled by the NCAA’s decision to lift Penn State’s ban on bowl games effective immediately also restoring scholarships for the 2015-16 season, a full two years in advance of the original sanctions. 

The NFL acknowledged its error in not handing down a harsher penalty on Rice from the beginning by recently revising its domestic violence policy.  The Raven’s quick action after the release of the video earlier today of the assault on Janay Palmer is to be commended.  By terminating a star player the organization is sending a strong message across the League and the country that violence against women will not be tolerated regardless of the price. 

In stark contrast, the NCAA’s decision to release Penn State of its penalties in order to rebuild the team and potentially earn millions of dollars in post season revenue generating bowl games, communicates that money is more important than victims.  Penn State never afforded this kind of compassion to Sandusky’s victims.  They had early opportunities to act on the victims behalf and did not. 

“Two years of progress does not eliminate decades of abuse and cover-up by the University.  The NCAA’s swift and decisive original sanctions should be maintained for the duration of the penalty,” commented Mai Fernandez, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.  


The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation’s struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives.