The Joe Paternos will ruin college athletics

When you put a winning record ahead of common decency and what is right for young people, the end result is exactly what happened at Penn. State.  Disgrace.  Not only did Jerry Sandusky get away with what he did, he got away with it for ten years while others, like head coach Paterno, looked on and either turned their head or made minimum efforts to do something about it.  Sandusky was arraigned on 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15 year period.  The man is married with six adopted children.



Jerry Sandusky arrested

The assistant coach is charged with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault plus other offenses.  Back in 2002 another asst. coach Mike McQueary, a graduate asst. at the time, says he surprised Sandusky as he was anally raping a ten-year-old boy.  He reported it to Paterno, who then reported it to Tim Curley, athletic director.  It is alleged that Sandusky was only barred from bringing children to the football building then.

Vicki Triponey with Paterno

Curley and Gary Schultz, overseer of the Penn. State police dept. were both charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse.  Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier have been fired, the coach ending an otherwise supposedly illustrious 41 years at the school.  Although that was questioned repeatedly by the university’s former disciplinarian Vicky Triponey whose opinion was that Paterno felt football players should be coddled and treated different than other students.

Several incidents occurred involving the players both before and after Triponey arrived at the school in 2003 from the U. of Connecticut.  She suspended one student which drew Paterno’s ire, and in an email to Curley she complained that “…football players were getting in trouble at a ‘disproportionate rate’ from other students, often for serious acts.”  She even indicated to president Spanier that she didn’t support the way Paterno was running the football program.

After Triponey suspended another player and Paterno had him suit up for the next game anyway, she advised the player he could face expulsion if he played.  It was at this point that Paterno gave Spanier an ultimatum: either fire Triponey or he would no longer do fundraising for the school.  Spanier visited Triponey at home and let her know that if this choice had to be made, she would be out of a job.  Triponey eventually left Penn. State in 2007, followed by accolades from former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, who had nothing but good things to say about her when she worked there.

And like they say, the rest is history.  Much like the old adage, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” in college football, if the program’s winning and making money, don’t touch it.  And therein lays the Paterno-like problems that are going on at campuses across the country.  Not necessarily sexual abuse, but the kind of favoritism that gives preference to athletes over other students.  Other than the latter and player run-ins with law enforcement that can often be serious, they get special treatment within the school administration like registration partiality and placement with teachers who are sports fans.  Some have actually been paid money to play and given automobiles to sign up with a particular school.  Most of this can be attributed to alumni who also put winning ahead of ethics.
It remains to be seen if the Penn. State uproar will change anything.  This sort of revelation has done little in the past to improve the system.  Most would agree that the secret to the problem is balance, so that one side is not overpowering the other, which is pretty much true of anything we do.  Did Paterno do enough?  Not likely. 

Let me leave you with a couple of quotes from Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Green Bay Packers.  First: “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”  And: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  Peace!

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