Advertisers have begun pulling out of upcoming broadcasts of Penn State football games in direct response to the scandals recently flooding the school.
The Wall Street Journal reported that about a half-dozen advertisers cancelled their commercials on ESPN’s broadcasts of the games, including the online site Cars.com, which specifically cited “the allegations surrounding the Penn State football program,” as its cause for removal.
In addition, media buyers were advising their clients to stay away from the broadcasts for the time being, weary of the backlash.
“The school’s image is damaged and brands will disassociate,” Kevin Adler, founder of a sports-marketing firm, told the Journal.
Corporate sponsors for Penn State’s athletic program may also temporarily sever their ties with the school as a consequence, he added.
But for now, many of the sponsors like PepsiCo and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. have not taken any action.
General Motors Co. was much like many other companies that said they were currently reviewing their sponsorship, but had no plans as of yet to pull out, a spokesman told the Journal.
The Christian Science Monitor revealed that Penn State had the third most profitable football program in the U.S. last season, reporting an income of $50 million.
Those figures may soon change however with the recent scandal plaguing the school.
The controversy revolves around former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was accused of committing sex crimes against young boys over a 15-year period.
During that time he served under head coach Joe Paterno, who purportedly knew about the crimes but did not report it to the police. The cover-up allegations also include Penn State administrators.
Widening criticism about his role in the incident eventually led Paterno to announce his retirement at the end of the season, but the school’s Board of Trustees decided hours later to fire him instead.
They also forced University President Graham Spanier to retire after protests began in reaction to his initial response to the incident. He had issued a statement defending Penn State athletic director Timothy Curley and university Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, who were both accused of not reporting the abuse to the authorities and indicted for perjury.
Many public leaders and child advocacy groups have denounced the school for covering up the abuse in efforts to keep their image untainted.
In response to the scandal, state lawmakers are looking to pass legislation that will require stricter mandates on reporting child abuse, hoping to eliminate any future controversy over the matter.
“Everyone should be held to the same standard of reporting abuse of children,” said State Senator Wayne Fontana according to the Journal. His proposal would require any professional who works with children to report suspected child abuse to police.
Under the state’s current law, employees are directed to “notify the person in charge” about suspected child abuse. The “person in charge” is then responsible for reporting the abuse to the authorities.
Though Penn State employees reported Sandusky’s abuse to the school’s supervisors and directors, the molestation was never reported to the police.
Penn State Rep. Dan Deasy said that he would introduce legislation that would require anyone who witnesses a sex crime against a child or anyone who is told by a direct witness of such a crime to report it to the police, the Journal quoted Deasy.
As lawmakers push for stricter regulations, Penn State’s football team heads toward what will most likely be a long road to recovery.
They returned to the field on Saturday to play against Nebraska at the Beaver Stadium, losing 17-13.
Before the game, both teams met at midfield for a prayer led by Nebraska’s assistant coach Ron Brown.
“Lord, we know we don’t have control of all these events that took place this week. But we do know that you are bigger than it all,” Brown shared.