Monday, July 23, 2012

Bail Out, Nattany Lions

Penn State got seriously smacked down today, and they had it coming.  All too often we’ve seen child molesters protected by bureaucracies that are more interested in preserving their reputation and the reputation of their institution than in doing what’s right.  For while, it seemed like only Catholic priests did this stuff, but I guess now we see that any institution that works with young people is susceptible to this.  And they never learn.  Eventually the truth comes out, and everyone who covered it up gets burned. 

Sixty million in fines.  Scholarships disappearing.  No bowl games for four years.  Paterno’s statue heading for a trash heap, or maybe a blast furnace.  The football program isn’t dead, but it’s in a coma for a while.  We’ll see if it ever wakes up.  If it doesn’t, I don’t know if I’ll feel bad for the administration or the football program.  It’s good when programs that show this kind of arrogance and irresponsibility get burned.  It’s even better when they’re programs with great national standing.  It reminds us that no one is above the rules.

The downside is when a big organization goes bang like that, lots of people who had nothing to do with it get caught in the blast.  Businesses near Penn State will suffer.  Some will go out of business.  Some people may even leave town due to the loss of opportunity.  The whole town will be hurt by this.

And what of the students who worked like mad to get into Penn State?  Is the future they invested in tarnished forever, or at least for long enough that their resumes will bear a stigma every time they apply for a job?  Will the football players who joined hoping for a shot at the big time suddenly see their chances dashed by the douchebags who did this?  The NCAA has already told the players they can bail out and play for other teams.  My advice: do it.

Sure some of the diehard fans and boosters will call them selfish sellouts.  But screw them.  Seriously.  Few things are more selfish than the actions of the leaders of this institution.  Rather than come clean early (something which would have stung the school’s reputation, but not left it in tatters), they chose to protect themselves.  Now the entire student body and the community will pay for it.  They put their trust in the reputation of Penn State, and Penn State let them down.

Football players, play for another school.  Preserve what chance you may have for a bowl game or a professional career.  Students, transfer anywhere else.  Do what ever you have to do preserve your own reputation.  God knows your school wasn’t bothering to do it for you.  You don’t need a black mark on your record.  Certainly not in this economy.  And don’t feel bad, you’ll be protecting yourself because other people who were supposed to didn’t bother.  Penn State will be radioactive for a while.  Everyone involved should think about getting out of the hot zone.

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