As others see it: Lessons from a program in ruinsA year ago, a legion of Penn State University students and alumni and the Happy Valley crowd looked forward to another stellar football year under legendary coach Joe Paterno.
By: Quad-City, Iowa, Times, Worthington Daily Globe
A year ago, a legion of Penn State University students and alumni and the Happy Valley crowd looked forward to another stellar football year under legendary coach Joe Paterno.
Today, any legends surrounding the program are crushed, unceremoniously ripped from their moorings like Paterno’s statue.
The program continues to fall upon itself like a house of cards in the wake of the conviction of former long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky of 45 counts of child sex abuse. Adding to the devastation is the knowledge, backed by an investigation headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, that Paterno, Penn State President Graham Spanier and Vice President Gary Schultz not only knew about the alleged abuse but did their best to cover it up.
All, seemingly, for the sake of not sullying a storied football program.
… We know this: Penn State isn’t the only place where the football program is held up on such a high pedestal. College football is a business worth billions of dollars with much at stake. Adoring fans demand more and more from their teams. Media scrutiny on every down is intense. But college officials shouldn’t be in the business of shielding star players or star coaches.
... If the Penn State saga teaches us anything, it’s that never again can so much ride on one sport and one coach.
That kind of power is dangerous and, in the case of Penn State, has left dozens of people irreparably harmed and a university community devastated....