Sandusky Scandal - Tip of an Iceberg?
Joe Paterno's name has come down from the child care center on Nike's Beaverton campus. After decades of service to his sport and his school, during which he became a legend, a massive asterisk will live next to his name in the Hall of Fame and the hearts of football fans for generations to come. And it never had to happen.
The report put together by former FBI director Louis Freeh revealed a pattern of poor decisions, not just by coach Paterno, but by men in positions of leadership throughout Penn State. The indiscretions of Jerry Sandusky had been rumored in and around the school for years, and yet the men in power covered it up, shoved it under the rug, and carried on as if nothing was wrong. Why? Because in college football today, money is king. Prestige is paramount.
It seems odd now, in light of the revelations since the Sandusky scandal broke, to think that men of such apparent mental capacity managed to talk themselves into believing that they could control such a monstrous secret; that somehow they could keep things in the family. But in their world such a scandal would mean the end to millions of dollars in donor money, scholarships, ticket sales, television contracts, and sponsorships. Of course hiding the secrets of Sandusky will now cost Penn State all of that, and possible prison time for men who lied to a Grand Jury about how much they apparently knew.
Not one rational person should ever be fooled into thinking there's no chance this is just the tip of a massive iceberg. After all, the same conditions exist at colleges and universities across the country. We've turned student athletes into billion dollar assets, rather than young men and women simply trying to earn an easier financial path to a higher education. We've set entire educational systems up to stand on the backs of college sports programs, relying on them to bring in ticket revenue and alumni donations year upon year. In the case of Penn State, at the very least, we've put the survival of those programs above the welfare of the boys and girls who put on the uniform.
Is there a road to fixing this issue? Are we over-reacting to it based only upon a few recent cases? Sound off in the comments below.