Penn State Just Doesn’t Get It

July 12, 2012

Jerry Sandusky, PSU Football

Nothing to see here, Penn State students.

Penn State proves once again that its public relations instincts are severely lacking – even on a day when the school is being accused of putting public relations ahead of the health and safety of children. From Philly.com:

The handful of students and alumni that gathered in Penn State’s student center this morning to watch the release of the Freeh report live were stunned when the channel suddenly switched.

While most of campus was still sleepy, the small group was viewing CNN on a large screen, or one of several smaller screens nearby, in anticipation of the 9 a.m. release of the report on the sex abuse scandal that has gripped the school.

Most were hoping that the report, part of a seven-month probe by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, would exonerate legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

But, just as an anchor was ready to speak about the report, the television screens suddenly went blank. They then turned to a public access channel featuring a reporter fromThe Morning Call newspaper in Allentown about the state budget.

Everyone watching suddenly went scrambling to find a way to switch the channel back at the student center, known as the HUB-Robeson Center Facility, or simply, “the Hub.”

Yep, that’s the way to handle it, Penn State. Nothing to see here. All is well.

While this very well may have been one guy in the facilities department changing the channel – and doing what he thought was right, it absolutely sends the wrong message and is one that campus leadership must own and be responsible for fixing.

From top to bottom, from the athletics department to the zoology department, Penn State people need to think differently and get out of that little bubble they have created for themselves up there.

Step one: Letting students know what their leaders were up to the last 15 years or so.

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5 Comments on “Penn State Just Doesn’t Get It”

  1. Gopher Bandanna Guy Says:

    I fear that all that will happen over the next few days is that Penn State loyalists will continue to find ways to rationalize and separate their football love from Joe Paterno and the PSU leaderships criminal behavior.

    Yahoo Sports just posted a list of the ‘worst college sports scandals’ (in no particular order). What do they all have in common, relative to the Penn State scandal? They are nowhere near as heinous.

    Reply

    • Tony Says:

      I agree. Indiana basketball was basically destroyed for five years over Kelvin Sampson. Michigan hoops disappeared over the Chris Webber stuff. Ohio State and tattoos. Minnesota and test taking. And so on.

      Do any of those – cumulatively – begin to even approach what happened at Penn State?

      Reply

      • Spencer Says:

        Even the SMU death penalty wasn’t as bad. BUT, I don’t think Penn State deserves the death penalty because I think that should be reserved for severe NCAA violations. What happened at PSU was morally and ethically reprehensible. No one can argue otherwise. But, it wasn’t as if they were circumventing NCAA rules. They were certainly circumventing PA laws, and ignoring their own moral (and perhaps legal) obligations), but they didn’t do anything that I feel that NCAA needs to get involved over. I’m afraid that this comment may make it sound like I am defending what went on or trying to make excuses, which is definitely not my intent. I’m just trying to say I don’t think this is an issue the NCAA needs to involve itself in. If the university wants to take their own action like suspending the program or placing it on probation, then I would be fine with that. But as far as the NCAA goes…just let PSU deal with it.

        Reply

        • Gopher Bandanna Guy Says:

          Could not disagree more Spencer – the football program should be burned to the ground and suspended indefinitely, so that the ‘football first/protect our own’ culture can be completely rebooted. Only by taking away football for a time, can this truly and believably happen.

          Rather than a loss of institutional control, this was the inverse – a program under such tight and rigorous control that their own leaders presumably went against their own morals to continue and maintain that control in an effort to keep money pouring into the coffers.

          NCAA violations or no, the NCAA has a duty to maintain the integrity of athletics in the college setting. This is severe a breech integrity as has ever been seen. Grown men allowing a child rapist to continue operating under their nose in an effort keep football success undisrupted. Yeah, I think the NCAA should have something to say about that. Whether they have the guts to, is another matter.

          If the PSU had any decency at all, they’d begin the healing now by internally shutting down the football program for at least a season. This isn’t about punishing current players, but rather rebooting a culture so corrupt that it allowed football success to trump morals. And its not just the ‘big 4’ listed in the report, you can be sure this goes far deeper than them. How can you know? Just listen to the program’s fans and alumni who have been vocal defenders of Paterno to the end.

        • Tony Says:

          Interesting that it may not violate NCAA rules but it does violate PA and federal law – including laws relating to the Department of Education, which also could step in.

          Far from done.

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