Someone has to say it so I will: Penn State shouldn’t play football in 2012

June 26, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Jerry Sandusky was found guilty.

He’ll spend the rest of his life in prison.

That’s fair.

More than fair, frankly.  If those little boys he molested had fathers who cared about them, Sandusky would probably be six feet under with a bullet in his head.  Alas, he’ll get something much worse over the next “X” amount of years in his life as he rots away in a state prison.

But now what happens?  What happens with Penn State football?  Do they just kick the ball off at pre-season practice in August and move on with the great legacy of college football in Happy Valley?  Is that how it all gets handled at Penn State…business as usual, with footballs flying around and leaves turning and Saturdays all about beating Iowa or Michigan State?

If Drew ran the NCAA, none of that stuff would happen in 2012.  Not in Happy Valley, anyway.

Penn State University doesn’t deserve to have football in 2012.

Yes, yes, I know…”What about the kids on the team?  They don’t deserve that…”

You’re right, they don’t.

But the time has come for the football team to be second.  Or, at the very least, not first.

The reason Jerry Sandusky got away with his crimes for so long is because all along the way, people who should have blown the whistle put the football team first.  The administration did that.  So did Joe Paterno.  There’s no telling how many other folks in and around Penn State saw odd behavior from Sandusky but decided against following up on it because “I can’t do that to the football program.”

I’d shut the football program down for 2012.

Would there be collateral damage?  Sure.  Teachers, students, administrators — they’d all “suffer” because of the deeds of Sandusky and those who enabled him by not reporting their suspicions a decade ago.  But something, somewhere, has to pay the ultimate price at Penn State.  It’s not about revenge.  It’s about putting the football program second, for once.

That’s the real lesson that every school should learn from what happened at Penn State.

Nothing, nothing at all, is bigger than the school itself.

Had Jerry Sandusky chased his victims around in a neighboring community and wouldn’t have done the deeds right there on the Penn State campus, I might feel differently about the punishment for Penn State.  I certainly wouldn’t feel differently about the punishment for Sandusky, but I’d at least think about cutting Penn State a break since none of the crimes occurred on their property.

But it didn’t happen that way.

Sandusky took those boys into the locker room at Penn State and molested them.  And people – staffers – witnessed the behavior.  Somehow, when administrators were made aware of it, the behavior was allowed to continue.

Fact:  Jerry Sandusky took a boy on a team charter to the Fiesta Bowl some five years after he was investigated for inappropriate conduct with a young boy.  Sandusky and the boy roomed together with the team at their Phoenix hotel.  No one seemed to care or worry about that.  Oh, right, they had a bowl game to win.

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