After being asked over 20 times, “When are you going to blog about PSU?,” I have finally surrendered. But I need to preface this post with one statement: it’s not being publicized as much out here as it is on the East Coast. Sure, I’ve seen some things on SportsCenter; I’ve proactively sought out some articles on the internet… but luckily, I don’t have to see ignorant students chanting outside of JoePa’s home on the evening news.
What happened is horrible. I can analogize my feelings simply: I felt this way (well, much worse) when a similar scandal happened in the Catholic Church. I am Catholic; I am a football fan; I am disgusted; I will not let my loyalty to a belief or an activity define how I react to these situations. I have morals and I let those, not the institution inked on my diploma, guide my life.
In my opinion, the best measure of maturity can be described by one simple question: “Do you challenge your beliefs and morals on a consistent basis?” If the answer is yes, you get an A in the “becoming a grown-up” category. My friends and family know I am dedicated to Catholicism, but other acquaintances have assumed that because I am Roman Catholic, I support the priests who revoltingly molested children. I do not. Similarly, I have several friends who are Penn State graduates. I know that despite their loyalty to their alma mater, they do not think child abuse, in any form, is OK. And then there are those students who we’ve seen on the news – ignorant co-eds who are supporting sexual predators via blind loyalty to a culture of drinking, “tradition,” and athletic mediocrity.
I will not digress on the obvious points: Mike McQueary’s employment situation, Joe Paterno’s successful career-turned-tainted legacy, insiders turning a blind eye to despicable behavior, the graphic Grand Jury testimony (http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/feature?section=news&id=8421115), etc. These are the reasons I was hesitant to blog on the subject – quite frankly, they are nothing more than an awful reminder that bureaucracy reigns in a sports-driven University atmosphere.
But here’s the problem I have. It’s not with sports, rather it’s with the co-eds of America. In my opinion, there are three main ways PSU students and alums could have reacted: by speaking out, by standing by idly and apathetically, or by rallying outside of Joe Paterno’s house in oversized hoodies and dumpy jeans. Your smallest actions define you. And the reactions of many Nittany Lions have shown that they’d rather blindly endorse an ideology than personal morals; further, many of them have failed to look at the "big picture" and reflect on what they are truly supporting. Call me crazy, but these people are also the ones who actually believe that the isolated space that they call "college" will prepare them for the real world. People try to pretend like Happy Valley is a microcosm, albeit utopic, of real life. It’s not. The former players donating to Sandusky’s defense are ridiculous. The kids that chanted “"Hell no, Joe won't go" are the kids who attended PSU already living vicariously through their future selves. Spoiler alert: they graduate and then live vicariously through their college selves. If they're dudes, their college selves treated girls like **** and binge drank. If they're girls, they either had no respect for their bodies or went around trying to learn the rules of football (and were likely unsuccessful).
I’m not putting the majority of the blame on JoePa. I’m not putting it on the school. The focus should be on the molesters, the athletic director and on the integrity of the chain of command. We’ve demanded “segregation of duties” from our corporations to prevent erroneous decisions and inappropriate actions, but are we too inebriated from the NCAA Football Kool-Aid to treat our Universities the same? We should also reflect on the fact that the NCAA is falling apart and lacks a cohesive, ethical identity (a conversation for another post). Some recent examples: UNC soccer, Ohio State, Oregon, and Miami football – we cared then. Students were sad then. But to call those situations “scandals” now shows that they pale in comparison to the issue at hand.
My point is this: stop changing your profile pictures to a mascot that currently represents sodomy. If you want to support your alma mater’s football team, pick Kerry Collins up off waivers this week in Fantasy. Don’t support the good ol’ boys club just because you love the tailgates.