Jerome Allen removed from Penn Athletics Hall of Fame after being sentenced in admissions scandal

Jerome Allen, a past star and coach at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, and currently an assistant for the Boston Celtics, was sentenced and fined on July 8th for his involvement in the widespread college admissions scandal.

Allen was convicted of bribery related charges last October, but sentencing was deferred until July 8th, pending the conclusion of another case involving the briber and in which Allen turned state’s evidence.

He is the second former Ivy League coach whose image has been tarnished for this illegal activity. The women’s soccer mentor at Yale, Rudy Meredith, resigned this year also for accepting illegal payments.

The successful college career of the popular Allen includes a pair of Ivy League Player of the Year awards and three Ivy League basketball titles.

The hometown (Philadelphia) star played for the Quakers from 1991-1995 and then was selected in the second round of the 1995 NBA draft. He went on to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets from 1995 to 1997, before concluding his career abroad. Until this year, when Yale’s Miye Oni was also a second round pick, Allen was the last Ivy Leaguer to be drafted by an NBA team. Not even Jeremy Lin, the Harvard star who had a meteoric debut in the NBA, was chosen. Lin entered the league as a free agent in 2010 but is no longer active.

Allen has been “disenshrined”

The point of this story, however, and what most of the general basketball public may not be aware of, is that on July 9th, the day following his sentencing, Allen was “disenshrined” from the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame.

Along with the more tangible penalties, financial and otherwise, it is another setback he must deal with.

Does the penalty fit the crime?

Allen sentence was:

1) Four years probation

2) Six months of house arrest

3) 600 hours of community service

4) Monetary fine of $202,000

5) $18,000 forfeiture judgment

Ironically, the resolution of Allen’s case was considered in some legal circles as a break, or to put it in basketball language, a “fast break.” U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Williams apparently considered a plea deal in which Allen agreed to testify against one Philip Esformes in an unrelated medicare fraud case. Esformes is the same person who bribed Allen to use his influence in getting his son into Penn.

Penn’s reasoning

When the decision was revealed to “disenshrine” Allen from the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame, an Associate Athletic Director, Kevin Bonner, issued this statement:

“The University of Pennsylvania considers induction into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame as the highest individual honor for a student-athlete or coach, and criteria for induction encompass both athletic achievements and character. As a result of his federal conviction, Jerome Allen has been removed from the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame.”

This is not the first time the University of Pennsylvania has taken back an honor it bestowed on a graduate. Two of its most recognized alumni, Steve Wynn, the casino developer, and comedian Bill Cosby, both associated with sexual misconduct, have been stripped of honorary degrees.

Pros and cons

Meanwhile, as mentioned at the outset, controversy has developed over whether Allen’s removal from the Penn Athletics HOF was justified.

Here is a sampling of social media posts expressing both sides, from the Penn community:

“Bad call. Jerome is in the HoF for what he accomplished as a student athlete; a truly remarkable accomplishment. I too was saddened to learn of this event but please, enough with everyone’s righteous indignation. Grow up!” –Bruce Bergwall

“O.J. Simpson is still in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame, and he served jail time, but Penn wants to remove Jerome Allen from its Hall of Fame??? What kind of ridiculousness is this?

“I guess that’s why Penn’s first U.S. President is Donald Trump. Makes all the sense in the world.” -Abdullah Jenkins

“So you’re what? Upset with Penn for having standards and showing integrity? ­­–Rhinnan Kith

“The guy betrayed the University and you want to give him a pass? What he did is completely unforgiveable. He cost someone a Penn education and enriched himself by betraying Penn’s trust in him to be honest about his recruits. I cannot think of any justification to leave him with any Penn honors after what he did. In fact, Penn should pursue reimbursement of the very high salary it paid to Allen while he was accepting bribes.” –Jonathan Bart

“Allen is now a convicted felon. And the felony springs from his connection with Penn athletics”. – James Schwartz

“Did Allen do anything wrong when he was an athlete here? If he did then he should be removed. What he did after graduating should have nothing to do with being in the Athletics Hall of Fame. The removal of people who received honorary degrees (apparently a reference to Steve Wynn and Bill Cosby, see above) is a whole different story. As far as I know there never has been an honorary Penn athlete.” -Arthur Liblit

This Jerome Allen story may not be over

In addition to the legal proceedings, Penn Athletics has been conducting its own investigation but has not indicated what the results are or even if it has been concluded. The process could conceivably uncover some NCAA and/or Ivy League violations which might impact the University.

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