By now, we have all seen and read about the child rape scandal at Penn State. I won't go into details here.
Having spent a number of years working in cooperation with the athletic program at a SEC school, I completely understand the handling of this by Penn State. I don't like it, but I understand it.
There are two levels of people involved. The first level is the coaches and athletic department apparatus whos job is promotion of the program. They wish to make fans rabid fans, they wish to make donations larger every year, they wish to grow to enhance both prestige and shared profit. Their job is also to protect the program, to reduce any negativity that emerges, to minimize any unpleasantness that invariable occurs and to make any problem go away by sweeping it under the rug.
The second level is the rest of the University. From janitor to staff videographer to professor, God forbid you go public with any scandal as your job would certainly be in jeopardy. Never underestimate the power and influence of a large athletic department, in many schools they are indeed the tail that wags the dog. National prestige and TV contracts can blind the right thing to do and encourage the expedient thing to do. Complain and you are gone.
Once discovered, Sandusky "quietly went away" with little fanfare and false excuses. But why was he able to come back to use facilities for his "boys camp?" Because denying that would raise too many questions. After all, if someone honorably leaves but the is barred from campus that certainly leads to questions that some would rather not have answered. All was an optical balance to protect the good standing of the Franchise of the Nittany Lions. Damn the heinousness of the allegations, the program must be protected. In fact, the more severe the scandal, the deeper it must be hidden.
And when it is found out and the cover-up exposed, heads have to roll for the good of the program. The legendary Joe Parterno is gone because he has moved from being a highly-prized asset to a publicly-doubted liability. The Athletic Director and University President are gone because they now represent the cover-up and their continued service would continue to harm the program. Not the universlty, but the football program.
This story is about sexual crimes, but secondary to a collusion to protect a prestegious money-making machine. You name a national conference, and every school has this machine.
And on a larger scale, this scandal is an indictment of our higher education system. After all, if a school is willing to hide criminal activity occurring in a non-academic department, what else is it willing to do? Where else would they be willing to lie, cheat and steal just to preserve their "good" image?
Perhaps it is time to step back and look at factors such as incredibly generous scholarships, outrageous coach pay scales, unlimited donor contributions and lucrative TV contracts and get away from college football as a business and back to college football as a game. And restore Universities as the defenders of truth instead of hiders of malfeasance. Teaching moral corruption is of no benefit to society.