College football in America is big business. So big, that children were sacrificed on the altar of ego, power, and money. So big, that prestige and profits outranked pedophilia.
The highest officials at Penn State University deliberately averted their collective eyes in order to protect their school and their football team, an enterprise that was valued at $100 million and made annual profits of $53 million.
Football was the lifeblood of Penn State, an institution whose academic profile was mediocre at best, particularly its business, law, and medicine faculties. Football brought in highly sought alumni money and generated millions of dollars for small businesses, who catered to the sold out crowds at home games.
However, the hoopla that was Penn State football now seems degradingly shallow with Jerry Sandusky’s conviction on 45 charges involving ten boys over fifteen years. Included are multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with persons under 16 and persons under 13, aggravated indecent assault, and numerous counts of corruption of minors, unlawful contact and endangering the welfare of minors.
Penn State’s Board of Trustees retained ex- FBI director Louis Freeh’s law firm in November of 2011 to conduct a comprehensive Special Investigation that culminated in the release of the Freeh Report this week.
Freeh’s findings are scathing, as he identifies Penn State’s President Graham Spanier, Senior Vice-President Business and Finance, Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy Curley, and the late Head Coach Joe Paterno, as the key players in the university’s cover up of Sandusky’s criminal activities.
Schultz and Curley have been charged with perjury in respect of their grand jury testimony and failure to report sexual abuse. Paterno’s legendary career is shattered as calls are now made to strip him of his phalanx of awards earned during his tenure as Head Coach.
Mr. Freeh posits that Penn State empowered Jerry Sandusky by allowing him to retire in 1999 as a football hero, permitting him ongoing access to the football facilities and a string of disadvantaged children who participated in Sandusky’s Second Mile Foundation, a charity that supplied Sandusky with young boys.
The fallout from Penn State’s egregious conduct will be unrelenting. Besides the criminal trials that are pending, the cost of defending multiple million dollar lawsuits brought on behalf of Sandusky’s victims may break the institution.
Many are calling for the termination of football at Penn State as a way of wiping the slate clean and eliminating the ugly sore that has been festering since Sandusky was arrested. Others say that excising football punishes the innocent, not the guilty.
I say that Penn State needs its “come to Jesus” moment to reflect on the monster it helped create and determine the steps required to realign its distorted culture.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang