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EDITORIAL: Gov. Wolf fumbles ball when he prohibited parents at Penn State's Senior Day

YORK DISPATCH EDITORIAL BOARD
  • Gov. Tom Wolf issued new COVID-19 mitigation efforts last week.
  • Part of those efforts included a ban on fans at pro and college sports events.
  • That decision meant the parents of Penn State seniors couldn't watch their sons on Senior Day.
Penn State head coach James Franklin leads his team onto the field for an NCAA college football game against Michigan State in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Gov. Wolf, you have a second chance to right a wrong.

This time, please get it right.

Last Thursday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued his new COVID-19 mitigation efforts in response to a major spike in cases across the state.

The new temporary restrictions, which will last until Jan. 4, were wildly unpopular among many state residents. Wolf certainly knew that was going to be the case when he issued the restrictions.

Given the recent huge surge in COVID cases, however, it was clear that Wolf needed to do something or our hospitals were going to get overwhelmed and our front-line medical workers were going to get pushed past the point of exhaustion.

You can argue about the details, especially when it comes to the ban on indoor dining for restaurants and bars, but Wolf at least deserves credit for his willingness to make a tough decision.

That hasn’t always been the case with the Wolf administration.

Penn State football players cherish Senior Day at Beaver Stadium — empty stands and all

Fumbling the ball on PSU decision: Still, one area where Wolf fumbled the ball came in his decision to prohibit fans at Penn State’s Senior Day on Saturday against Michigan State.

Wolf had already made an exception when he allowed pro and college sports to continue, while prohibiting youth sports, including high school athletics, until Jan. 4. We have no major problem with his decision on high school sports. The kids can wait a little to play their games in the name of public health.

Still, how hard would it have been to allow another exception and permit the parents of the Penn State seniors to watch the final scheduled home college game for their children in Beaver Stadium?

Those young men had given their hearts and souls to the Penn State football program for the last four or five years. They were largely responsible for rallying the team after an 0-5 start when it would've been easy for the Nittany Lions to quit on this strange, delayed season.

Their parents deserved the opportunity to see them play their final scheduled home game. Their parents deserved better.

Instead, after the 39-25 victory over the Spartans, Penn State’s 12 seniors circled the cavernous stadium, which was full of banners singing their praises, as music blared all around them. They should've been greeted by their emotional parents after a third consecutive victory.

We are only talking about a dozen seniors. It would have been easy to allow a few dozen more parents into an outdoor stadium that seats more than 107,000. The parents surely would’ve been willing to wear masks, maintain social distance and wash their hands. The health risk would’ve been negligible.

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A second chance to right a wrong: Fortunately, Gov. Wolf has a chance to right this wrong.

The Big Ten announced Sunday that Penn State will have another home game during the conference’s Championship Week. The Nittany Lions will take on Illinois at Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

This should definitely be the final home game for Penn State’s seniors.

It’s another chance for the senior parents to see their sons play in person at Beaver Stadium.

Gov. Wolf, this time do the right thing. Let the parents into the game.

You’ve already made the hard decision. Now may make an easy decision. This should be a no-brainer.