New Castle News

Penn State Scandal

July 25, 2012

Our Opinion: Penn State penalties show benefits of dealing with problems appropriately

NEW CASTLE — As scorn and punishment continue to be heaped upon Penn State University, a question lingers:

What truly has been learned in light of the Jerry Sandusky scandal?

Penn State personnel — those left to pick up the pieces — can expect extended reminders of the university’s gross failure in leadership. This week’s penalties issued by the NCAA on the school’s football program are just the tip of the iceberg. As we have written previously, the full cost of the Sandusky travesty has yet to be assessed.

Not only are there state and federal criminal investigations still ongoing, but the civil suits from Sandusky’s sex abuse victims will take a further financial and psychological toll on the university.

In short, the Sandusky saga will impact Penn State for years. The NCAA penalties alone, with the forfeiting of past victories, bans from bowl games for four years, loss of football scholarships and $60 million in fines will affect the school’s athletic programs in multiple ways long after they officially end.

And with major universities, football programs are crucial to financial support from alumni and similar boosters. The influence of football at Penn State and other universities helps to explain how the school wound up in the current mess.

Penn State is hardly the first institution to fail to pursue claims of internal wrongdoing aggressively. It’s just that in this instance, the crimes involved — the sexual abuse of children — so shock the conscience that public outrage has reached new heights.

The multiple punishments meted out, along with those still pending, presumably will provide the lesson Penn State needs to avoid any such situation in the future. In fact, we would hope that any time a university is inclined to sweep an allegation under the rug, the name “Jerry Sandusky” will come immediately to the minds of school officials.

But will it? Arrogance is a powerful human characteristic. And the tendency to circle the wagons in response to bad news is an ever-present temptation.

However, we can’t help but think of how different things would have been had the leadership at Penn State established better priorities. The adage about honesty being the best policy holds true, and some genuine concern for the children involved would have produced a different outcome.

Yet it’s obvious no one in charge at the university was thinking about those children — or others yet to be targeted by a pedophile. If they had, Penn State’s reputation would be intact.

At many universities, football has become the tail that wags the dog. Penn State has learned the consequences of that the hard way.

Will other universities learn? And will other institutions learn the value of dealing with wrongdoing in a forthright manner? That’s the real test here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Penn State Scandal
  • pennstate.jpg Big 10 commission noncommittal on Penn State sanction cuts

    Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany took a non-committal stance on an effort by five Pennsylvania Congressmen to rescind sanctions against Penn State for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Our Opinion: Report finds flaws in Sandusky probe, but no scanda

    So it seems the investigation into Jerry Sandusky was less than perfect.

    June 24, 2014

  • sandusky.jpg Penn State scandal played out in courts over 2013

    Penn State paid millions to settle claims of child sexual abuse, three university administrators accused of a cover-up fought the charges and NCAA penalties were dialed down slightly as the Jerry Sandusky scandal continued to play out in many different ways over the past year.

    December 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Appeals court denies Sandusky new trial

     Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky should not get a new trial after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Wednesday.

    October 2, 2013 1 Photo

  • Penn State Abuse1.jpg Three from PSU ordered to stand trial

    Penn State’s ex-president and two former top school administrators were ordered yesterday to stand trial on charges accusing them of a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

    July 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • Penn State Saga: Paterno lawyer says estate to sue NCAA

    The family of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno — along with several university trustees, former players and others connected to the school — plan to sue the NCAA over the landmark sanctions against the university for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

    May 30, 2013

  • Paterno family speaks at child abuse event

    On the night before he died, Joe Paterno scrawled a message that his wife Sue did not find until after the legendary coach had passed away. In that message, Joe Paterno noted the silver lining in the child sex abuse coverup that led to his firing might be that the scandal could inspire a greater awareness about child abuse.

    April 12, 2013

  • Judge: No new trial for Sandusky

    Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Wednesday when a judge rejected his argument that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the three-week proceeding that ended with a 45-count guilty verdict.

    January 30, 2013

  • Spanier.tiff Ex-PSU president Spanier charged in sex abuse scandal

    Former Penn State President Graham Spanier on Thursday became the latest high-ranking school official to face charges in the child sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Additional charges were also filed against two other school officials already charged in the case.

    November 1, 2012 1 Photo

  • dd5576bc7a387e1c1d0f6a7067004664.jpg Our Opinion: Sandusky jail term protects children and sends a message

    There probably isn’t much new to say about the Jerry Sandusky saga at this point. However, yesterday’s sentencing of Sandusky to 30 to 60 years in prison — essentially a life term — for his conviction on child sex abuse charges, warrants additional comment.

    October 10, 2012 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Do you talk to yourself when you're alone?

Yes, but I’m basically just thinking out loud.
No, that would be weird.
I don’t know. Next time I’m alone, I’ll ask.
     View Results