Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nittany Lions headed for state pen

What is amazing about the scandal involving Penn State and its longtime head football coach Joe Paterno is that so many are supporting JoePa in the face of his obvious moral failings.

When the PSU Board of Trustees announced that the longtime school president was fired, along with the head football coach, the only thing reporters wanted to know was: "who was going to coach the team?"

Then the students rioted.

On the Fox News website, they had their usual un-scientific poll asking viewers what they thought of Paterno's firing and if the board of trustees did the right thing.

Only 60 percent of Fox viewers agreed with the firing.

Really? Do conservatives discount alleged child sexual abuse that easily? Apparently, they do.

The culture of top-tier college football has long tolerated a lengthy list of abuses, from crime to drugs to exploitation.

Well, this is where we are.

Add child-sexual abuse to the long list of problems that afflict major college football.

Big money corrupts everything it touches.

And Penn State football was a huge money-making operation. From TV revenue to donations, PSU grew, thanks largely to Paterno's football success, from a backwater, middling college into a huge, 45,000-student institution. During Paterno's tenure as head coach from the mid-1960s until last week, PSU's endowment grew from around nothing to $1 billion.

Anything that could derail this money train had to be squelched or covered up.

Well, as we've learned for decades, the cover-up is worse than the crime.

Although, in this case, the crime of child-sexual abuse is hard to beat. In fact, another rumor out there is that Jerry Sandusky, the ex-assistant PSU coach at the heart of the scandal, pimped out some of the kids he abused to big donors of his non-profit group, Second Mile Foundation, that supposedly helped underprivileged kids.

The alleged crimes and cover-up will spread collateral damage far and wide beyond the abused children and their families. From the school president to head football coach, the entire athletic director's office along with all the football coaches at PSU will lose their careers. They're done.

Civil suits could, and should, drain that huge PSU endowment.

All that blather about high standards and living a life of honor are just hollow phrases. JoePa looked out for JoePa and look where that got him. They even took his name off the Big 10 trophy.

It's all about the money. And now, they can kiss that good-bye.

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