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Culture & Religion

Why Penn State Must Dissolve Its Football Program

The culture of corruption that Penn State's weighty football program created must either be dissolved or dedicated to healing the school's wounds, which will mean fielding a losing team.

What’s the Latest Development?

According to an independent investigation of the Penn State football scandal, in which longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse, investigator Louis Freeh wrote that all levels of the university’s bureaucracy were involved in “concealing the facts of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse.” That includes Penn State’s athletic director Tim Curley, former vice president Gary Schultz and former president Graham Spanier. Many who have followed the case believe that the weight of the football program in the university’s culture encouraged those meant to protect the university to turn a blind eye to the abuse.

What’s the Big Idea?

Penn State must make good on its errors, firstly by debunking the mythical status of the team’s former coach, Joe Paterno, or “Joe-Pa” as he is still affectionately known. Then the university must either dissolve the program entirely or funnel the team’s massive profits into crime prevention charities, making Penn State football an instrument of healing. Creating a corruption-free environment will mean fielding a team that is likely to loose, at least in terms of the football score. “A stripped-down program, though, of dedicated players who are there to win back the once-proud name of Penn State…might succeed, in time, in winning people back.”

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