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Doing Life Together

The Penn State’s football motto is “Success with honor.” After the news of this week, that motto is suspect.

The reason has to do with Jerry Sandusky, a 33 year defensive coordinator at Penn State who retired after the 1999 season,. He was charged with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, four counts of unlawful contact with a minor, four counts of endangering the welfare of a child and other charges related to the sexual abuse of eight minors, charges that could lead to imprisonment for the rest of his life if convicted. Additionally,  two Penn State administrators face perjury charges for covering up the scandal. And Coach Paterno’s involvement is being discussed. According to reports, he was  informed of an alleged incident and did report it to his superiors. However, Paterno did not follow up to identify who was victimized or ban Sandusky from the football program. Those two missteps of apathy may force him out of his job and bring a stellar career to a shameful end.

The alleged sexual abuse of eight boys, over a 15 year period of time and under the guise of charity work for at-risk youths, is sickening to even think about.

But the real story here is about college football programs and what people will do or put up with in order to win a national title. The list of scandals this year (e.g., Ohio State and the University of Miami to name only two) makes you wonder how much greed is guiding the grid iron.

College football is big business, making it ripe for greed and scandal. Coaches are often the highest paid at universities because their programs make millions for their institutions. Thus, they wield an enormous amount of power.

Based on the number of scandals, recruiting violations and cover ups we have seen this year, we need to take a hard look at reforming a very broken system. Obviously, we need better policing of programs and the coaches that run them. I’m sorry JoPa, but it is unacceptable to hear about possible sexual abuse and then only report it to your superiors. I hope this is a wake up call for college athletics to reform. Sadly, the lives of many young men may have been forever altered before that wake up call is answered.

If true, my heart goes out to the families who thought they were sending their students to a safe place, only to learn of horrific violations.  While coaches may be retired and fired, the families’ grief will continue.

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