All of these things are true. Let me be quite clear that I agree that the crimes committed at Penn State should have been swiftly and strenuously punished. I’ve spent the last year lamenting about how this points to the danger of powerful football programs. I in no way think anyone should have escaped the wrath of the NCAA and more importantly, the law, for what happened there. I’m sickened by it. In fact, I might argue the NCAA wasn’t harsh enough.
However, (this is where the hate rolls in) with the recent announcement of the NCAA Sanctions, my overwhelming feeling is sadness for everyone involved with this school that had nothing to do with the crimes committed there. The hundreds of thousands of alumni. The athletes on other teams whose programs will suffer. The incoming freshman who are enrolled in an almost unrecognizable school and the seniors who have had to live through it all.
I am a proud alumna of a Football School. There was a whole lot of other incredible stuff going on there, but let’s not pretend football didn’t lead the charge. Even though I know there is dirty at every football school, I’d like to think at my University the dirty was kept to “do no harm” levels and never will get anywhere near this far. I would be crushed if my school were Penn State and I think it would be ok if I felt that way. People need to stop lumping everyone with a Nittany Lion on their windshield in with Jerry Sandusky. If the current students and alumni are upset about the sanctions, that doesn’t mean they are condoning sexual abuse. It just means they love their school and they hate what is happening to it. They are probably sad, and sick and even a little guilty for feeling that way. That’s all ok.
The NCAA had to send a message and man did they ever. They had to ensure that years from now, when someone at Texas or Nebraska or God-Forbid, West Virginia has any inkling of sexual misconduct that the first thing they’ll think when they contemplate cover up is, “remember what happened at Penn State”. The NCAA had to do everything in it’s power to destroy the program that allowed this to happen and in that destruction send the word out to every other program that their fate is bleak if they ever think of going down the same road.
That’s fine. That’s more than fine, that is necessary. Let them destroy the program so that a new one can be rebuilt in an entirely different way. I’m just sorry for the folks who have to watch it happen. I don’t think the school is being unfairly punished. I’m just sorry for its students.
When your school is built on football, football can be glorious. But there is danger in building your school on football because when it comes down, it may take everything with it. And today, for everything else the former Penn State Football and it’s corruption took down, I feel sorry.
They’re not all criminals. They’re not all bad, even if they still love their school.
*** Talky-Talk Tuesday will resume next week. Today didn’t feel like a day for chit-chat.
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