ESPN - One remedy: Penn State without football

  • #1
    Very interesting article and video on Mike McQueary and whether Penn State should have football.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/page/munson-111110a/here-how-penn-state-fix-football-culture


    They fired the president of the university. They fired Joe Paterno, their legendary coach. They allowed the athletic director and a university vice president to at least temporarily leave their jobs.

    It's a start.

    But the trustees who govern Penn State have more work to do. Much more work.

    If the university intends to cleanse itself of the toxic culture described in agonizing detail in the report of the Pennsylvania grand jury that issued the indictments in the allegations of a sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, the trustees must continue to scour the athletic department and remove all who placed Penn State football ahead of the safety and welfare of needy and vulnerable young boys.

    It is conceivable that the process could lead the trustees to consider a total shutdown of the football program as the best way to excise all that is wrong.
    It was, after all, a culture that, under Paterno's unquestioned leadership, apparently enabled Sandusky to perpetrate his alleged atrocities on an unknown number of boys in these ways, according to the grand jury report:
    • Allowed him systematic access to these children.
    • Ignored obvious signs of perversity.
    • Provided locations (weight room, sauna) and events (bowl games, road trips) for Sandusky that were irresistible to troubled boys in State College, the ultimate college town.
    • Covered up for Sandusky whenever the possibility of detection arose.
    • Ignored legal and moral obligations to take action that would embarrass the supposedly impeccable football program.
    Despite the astonishing revelations of the past several days, it will not be easy for the trustees to do what they must do. They will face Paterno's legions of fans and his significant influence metastasized through the university, based both on his decades of success and his generosity to the university community. It is difficult to estimate the extent of the role Paterno's image and presence will have on the effort to change the athletic department culture.

    Another reason it won't be easy for the trustees is that instead of recognizing their failures, some of the principals involved in the scandal are parsing and rationalizing what happened. The athletic director and the university administrator are claiming that a graduate assistant who, according to the grand jury, saw Sandusky raping a child in an athletic department shower in 2002, did not mention anal sex to them in his reports. It might have been simple horseplay, they suggest.

    It is conceivable that the process could lead the trustees to consider a total shutdown of the football program as the best way to excise all that is wrong.
    It was, after all, a culture that, under Paterno's unquestioned leadership, apparently enabled Sandusky to perpetrate his alleged atrocities on an unknown number of boys in these ways, according to the grand jury report:
    • Allowed him systematic access to these children.
    • Ignored obvious signs of perversity.
    • Provided locations (weight room, sauna) and events (bowl games, road trips) for Sandusky that were irresistible to troubled boys in State College, the ultimate college town.
    • Covered up for Sandusky whenever the possibility of detection arose.
    • Ignored legal and moral obligations to take action that would embarrass the supposedly impeccable football program.
    Despite the astonishing revelations of the past several days, it will not be easy for the trustees to do what they must do. They will face Paterno's legions of fans and his significant influence metastasized through the university, based both on his decades of success and his generosity to the university community. It is difficult to estimate the extent of the role Paterno's image and presence will have on the effort to change the athletic department culture.

    Another reason it won't be easy for the trustees is that instead of recognizing their failures, some of the principals involved in the scandal are parsing and rationalizing what happened. The athletic director and the university administrator are claiming that a graduate assistant who, according to the grand jury, saw Sandusky raping a child in an athletic department shower in 2002, did not mention anal sex to them in his reports. It might have been simple horseplay, they suggest.

    The unavoidable facts, however, are that a grown man was in the shower with a boy, and it was not the first time. And neither Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley nor university senior vice-president Gary Schultz reported it to law enforcement authorities.

    As the trustees continue their work, they must purge the culture of the denial and the delusion that apparently allowed Sandusky to operate with impunity for years. They must establish an atmosphere of responsibility and accountability in a culture that encourages coaches, staff and students to do what is right instead of the bare minimum required by the law. One way to help make that happen is to institute seminars and training sessions that define the basic duties of citizenship and establish a new standard of behavior for all members of the university community. Instead of assuming that people will do the right things, the university's management must define what the right things are and create an atmosphere in which that proper behavior is encouraged.

    And the trustees must do this work publicly and definitively. Their investigation must be detailed and transparent if they hope to eliminate the old and re-establish an atmosphere of integrity in the football program.

    As the trustees attempt to reset the priorities of the university and its football program, here are some things they must do:
    • Investigate the Second Mile Foundation. Founded by Sandusky in 1977, it allegedly provided him with a continuing supply of young boys. The foundation is not formally a part of the university, but it uses the school's facilities for its camps and is intertwined with the football program in numerous ways. Can the foundation be salvaged? Should it be shut down?

    • Re-examine the investigation of another shower incident, this one in 1998. Why was no action taken after a probe by the police and a child welfare agency? What was the role, if any, of this incident in the "retirement" of Sandusky from the football staff in 1999?
    • Examine the role of attorney Wendell Courtney, identified in the grand jury report, who was the university lawyer during the 1998 investigation and then moved to the Second Mile charity as its lawyer, where he served during Sandusky's alleged predations.
    • Analyze the accounts of the victims described in the grand jury report (and of any additional alleged victims who come forward) to determine what staff members knew about Sandusky and these boys, and what the staff members did nor did not do about it. Determine if there is reason for any of these staff members to continue their employment with the university.

    • Consider the cancellation of the football program for a period of at least two years. It might not be possible to establish a new culture without the total elimination of the old one. A two-year hiatus might be the only way to eliminate a systemic problem. How important is football to an institution of higher learning that serves 95,000 students and is supposed to be dedicated to the pursuit of excellence? When Tulane University was caught in a basketball point-shaving scandal in the mid-1980s, the university leadership eliminated the sport for several years to allow a complete renewal of values. When the U.S. Congress discovered a series of abuses in 2008 in its page program, which was designed to offer opportunities to young people, the members of Congress agreed to eliminate it altogether.

    All of that is a tall order for the trustees. They demonstrated exemplary citizenship and fortitude when they dismissed Paterno and university president Graham Spanier on Wednesday night. As they continue their work, it is most important that they do it publicly and transparently. They cannot allow an atmosphere of denial and cover-up to continue. If their investigation uncovers embarrassing things, they must be forthcoming in describing them in detail and in public.

    As the governing body of the university, the trustees must find and hire a new president and a new football coach. In theory, the trustees would hire the president and allow the president to hire the coach. But given Penn State's history, the coach very well could be the more important personnel move. As they search for a president and coach, the trustees must find leaders with the character and integrity required to undo the damage and establish a new order of priorities that goes beyond X's and O's and bowl games.

    If the trustees can complete this work in the same way they made their decisions on Paterno and Spanier, they will be on their way to establishing a new model of "Success with Honor."
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  • #2
    Obligatory Daily Show clip:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-november-10-2011/penn-state-riots

    My friend just mistook my twenty deck boxes for condoms.
    cuz I guess "Ultra-Pro" can be ambiguous.


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  • #3
    Shutting down the football program only hurts the student athletes. They've already gotten rid of everyone in charge, why hurt the kids with futures?
    A Think Twice in hand is worth two in the grave.

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  • #4
    Well they are students first, athletes second.

    Sports should always be the second thing, its a university.

    A player could also break his leg the first day so that he can´t play football anymore and would have to be a normal student like anyone elses.

    Taking away a program punishes nobody, they can just do other things in their freetime.
    And I don´t know about football, but at least in soccer, and other teamsports there are a lot of "weekend leagues" where they can play.

    Or if they are really that much into it, and think they have to play football or the university time is worthless, they can change the university.

    Wit all the mess at PSU, a clean cut would be the best because it would allow a new beginning without even a possiblity, that one who was involved but maybe not enough to punish him, is still in the program.
  • #5
    Quote from Eberbacher

    Taking away a program punishes nobody, they can just do other things in their freetime.


    Well except for concession workers at the stadium. And the coaches who are completely innocent and knew nothing of the situation. All the businesses near the stadium that benefited from increased sales on gamedays. Street vendors selling merchandise would lose business too.

    Taking away a program punishes a lot of people who had nothing to do with the situation. Some victims have spoken out against the Joe Pa firing. I don't think punishing so many people for the actions of a dozen or so people is really the best answer in this situation. Clean house of the program? Sure, but taking it away for a while or long term would be terrible for many people that rely on PSU football. Is that really what is best here?
    <witty phrase>
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  • #6
    The second mile foundations reputation is trashed.

    Plus Curley reported the 2002 incident to the board, and they did nothing.

    The foundation had revenues of $2.6 million in 2010, which sounds like a lot, but that's tiny considering it had the full backing of Penn state.

    http://www.thesecondmile.org/pdf/AnnualReport2010.pdf

    I think they can easily replace this foundation with another one backed by Penn State, with a different, untainted board, and no history of abetting anal rape of 10 year olds.

    -

    As for getting rid of the football program, that seems pretty pointless, and besides it's never going to happen. May need to have a clean sweep of the upper administration, and obviously a new coach with no Paterno-taint on him.

    At any rate, a new head coach will bring all his own staff with him.
    Last edited by dcartist: 11/12/2011 9:57:44 AM
  • #7
    Penn State without football would kill the college. Sports bring in more money than tuition and generally is what keeps tuition down at colleges like that. It provides opportunity for more than just the athletes involved in them. It also provides jobs for hundreds if not thousands of people in the community depending on the scale of the sports teams at the college.

    It's unfortunate that they covered this up; because it wouldnt be even half the scandal for the college that it is. However the students at the school shouldn't ever be the ones punished. 18 doesnt make you any less of a child than 17. neither does 21 or 22 for a lot of people.

    Clearly even though the author of that article is a Lawyer and a senior writer for ESPN he has no clue what he is talking about in this article. He should stick to writing about the LAW and stay out of things he doesn't fully grasp.
  • #8
    Removing football from Penn State would also kill State College and all the local businesses that depend on football season revenue to stay afloat.
    Mother bite finger, distant son did feel heartache.
  • #9
    So the disappearance of a SPORTS team is enough to kill a UNIVERSITY, where people primarily go to learn?

    Sounds like something is totally wrong within the system.
    quod erat demonstrandum

    If this is the case shouldn´t there be alarm bells ringing everywhere that this has to be changed, that the importance of college sports has to be reduced a lot?
  • #10
    Quote from Eberbacher
    So the disappearance of a SPORTS team is enough to kill a UNIVERSITY, where people primarily go to learn?


    Check tout how much PSU made last year in sports revenue including apparel licensing. Those millions that would be lost would have to be replaced somehow. There would still be a college, but it would be completely different.

    Any yes, many businesses would be severely hurt since they can depend on gameday revenue to move into the black. The football programs provides jobs for many people and businesses. Each of these would be affected by the end of a football program. I don't know where anyone said the university would close.

    Can you come up with a good reason to negatively affect the lives of so many people because a small number made some horrible and awful decisions?

    Just because a few coaches made poor choices does not mean hundreds involved with a program should lose everything.
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  • #11
    Quote from Saludateacha
    Can you come up with a good reason to negatively affect the lives of so many people because a small number made some horrible and awful decisions?

    Just because a few coaches made poor choices does not mean hundreds involved with a program should lose everything.


    Isn't 'poor choices' an extreme euphemism for child abuse? And covering-up child abuse?

    Would the gap of no football at Penn State be filled with more football at other places? I don't think the economy will be lost, it will just move to other places. No?

    My friend just mistook my twenty deck boxes for condoms.
    cuz I guess "Ultra-Pro" can be ambiguous.


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  • #12
    Take college football away from happy valley and the economy of the area would be crushed. The town more or less thrives off of the college and the influx of visitors for football. I cant see the town surviving for long without the biggest draw to the area.

    There are many college towns like that in the country. Most one A schools have that effect on their surrounding community.
  • #13
    Yeah, you have to remember, the kids playing College football are there to learn and be studens, however, the real goal for them is to make it big and get drafted into the NFL. When Penn State recruited it's players (and yes, colleges go out and recruit people to play) it made a promise to those players that they picked up, they promised that they will offer a football program for the student to showcase their talents, in exchange for being a member of their team. If you take this away, you're taking away the dreams of several people on the team.

    Also, college sports teams do drive up local business. I live in Champaign Illinois and work at a drug store. On game day, we get a ton of business, and we're not even near the field. Food service business boom on game day, because all of the people that came from out of town want to eat somewhere. Removing that would kill part of the economy, which as we all know, would make things so much worse than it already is right now.
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