11/23/2011 in Uncategorized
Penn State was struck by the greatest adversity that any team or university could ever face. This was brought about by the allegations that Penn State’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, sexual abused multiple boys. Since the grand jury’s report was released, the university and everyone involved in this scandal has been under a firestorm by the media. Because of this many highly respected individuals such as Joe Paterno have lost their positions. How has Joe Paterno’s legacy been affected by this? How will people remember him?
One thing that doesn’t lie are numbers. Just look at Paterno’s stats. He started coaching at Penn State in 1950. He took the head coaching position in 1966. Since then Paterno has racked up 409 wins in 558 games. He has made 37 bowl appearances winning 24 of those games. Those two stats, 409 total wins and 24 bowl victories, just happen to be Division-1A records. He’s won numerous awards for his accomplishments, has two national championships, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007. He has also donated millions of dollars back to the university. You also have to consider the revenue that Penn State earned through merchandise sales because of Paterno.
However, when you look a persons legacy you don’t just look at the persons stats. If this was true, Pete Rose wouldn’t be banned from baseball and he’d be in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately in Rose’s case the persons character is also considered. That will be Paterno’s issue as well. JoePa always said he’s for the kids. (Meaning the players and students.) For example, after Paterno was fired, when students were rallying around his house in support, Paterno greeted them by telling them to go home and study because they still have work to do. Penn State football has always took pride in its graduation percentage and its class both on and off the field too. Paterno’s goal was to win football games but also create honorable young men in the process. This scandal also occurred at the end of Paterno’s career. It’s not like Michael Vick who has had time to redeem himself for his actions. When people think of Paterno they think of his age then the scandal. One thing you have to remember though is that Paterno has not committed a crime and has not been accused of a crime. The only thing he has been accused of is not doing enough. Apparently reporting an incident to your superior is not acceptable anymore. It seems like you’re now expected to conduct your own investigation of someone who is no longer and employee of yours but just has the rights to use the facilities that your football team uses.
On a side note, what about the university? You can’t forget about Penn State as a whole. How has this scandal affected it from a prestigious and economic standpoint? Joe Paterno and the football team had a major part in transforming the small agricultural school into the multi-campus university that it is today. Paterno is already gone and it’s possible that the football team could be next. Think about the economic impact Saturday afternoons have on Centre County in the fall. These football games turn the college town of State College into the third largest city in Pennsylvania for a few hours every weekend. Think about enrollment too. How many students won’t apply because of this? How many students will transfer? Sure Penn State is 40,000 strong at State College and another 30,000 strong at branch campus’ but a large university needs a large amount of students to stay in existence.
One thing can be certain is that time heals all wounds and that is exactly what is needed right now.