Friday Mud reflects on college sports

November 11, 2011 | Drew Forrester

Friday Mud reflects on college sports

In the wake of the horrific story at Penn State, I find it difficult today (I’m writing this on Thursday) to sit down at my computer and create Friday Mud.

Mind you, it’s nothing more than digging around for 10-12 pictures and stories that are mostly designed to make you all laugh and get your Friday off to a great start…it’s not the labor of a steelworker or anything, but the process requires energy and, above all, the spirit of laughter must be present in order to provide you with the best Friday Mud content I can.

I tried.  I glazed over some photos for 20 minutes or so until it dawned on me my heart wasn’t in it today.  I’m nearly certain that Friday Mud – in its original form – will return next week.

What happened in State College, PA is one of the most unthinkable acts and stories of my lifetime.  I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse.  As I said to Luke and Thyrl before leaving for the day on Thursday morning – “There are too many people who knew about this and said nothing…there’s more to it.  Something ELSE was going on at Penn State, in addition to the despicable behavor of Jerry Sandusky.  Lots of folks knew what was going on.  More people than Sandusky were involved.  And it’s not just about kids and sex.  It’s about much more than that.”  Those are all hunches on my part, but the story is far from over.

But what happened at Penn State is merely a pimple on the face of college sports today.

What happened at Penn State is happening EVERYWHERE across the country today.  No, innocent little boys aren’t being violated at 50 major academic institutions across America.  What happened at Penn State is symbolic of what’s happening everywhere in the country these days.

College sports has grown into a monster that is no longer enjoyable.  College sports has ruined itself.  College sports has, in fact, become bigger than college itself.

The high-powered, long-tenured football or basketball coach doesn’t just run the athletic department.  He or she runs the school. They make more money than anyone else at the institution, a complete and utter joke in and of itself.  They not only run the school, they run the town.  They don’t get parking tickets.  They don’t pay for coffee at the diner every morning.  They live a life that isn’t reality — it’s fantasy-land.  And that’s why they think the rules and the laws don’t pertain to them.  Because, for the most part, they actually don’t.

Winning on Saturday or on Tuesday night or on Thursday afternoon has become much more important than the school providing a quality education to the great unwashed who are forking over an average of $40,000 per-year to attend a 4-year college.

College sports runs the college these days.

It’s a disgrace.

Not every college is to blame and without question there are plenty of wholesome virtues about college athletics that we can all soak in.  Anyone who has listened or followed me over the last 9 years knows how fond I am of the local college scene.  There’s a reason why I flew to Maine to watch Towson play a regular season football game last Saturday.  There’s a reason why I hop on a bus and travel with the UMBC women’s basketball team to watch them play at St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia.  There’s a reason why I (along with Glenn Clark) drive over to Hill Field House on a 20 degree night in January to watch Morgan State play basketball. I am fond of the people who run those athletic departments and their coaches.  It’s Baltimore.  Those schools – even though I didn’t attend any of them – are in my blood.

I’d go watch Towson play Villanova in football or UMBC play Vermont in basketball LONG before I’d drive down to Washington DC this Saturday night to watch Notre Dame and Maryland play football.

This much is the truth — there are plenty of Division I schools and athletic departments across the country who run their programs with the accountability that’s expected of them.

But there are schools who feel – as reflected in their actions – that the rules don’t pertain to them.  Those schools have figured out the magic formula:  Above all else…win.  Forget education, forget right and wrong, forget fair play.  Forget anything and everything that doesn’t help us win a game.

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10 Comments For This Post

  1. vreedy76 Says:

    Well said Drew. I have an uncle who passed away a few years ago that worshiped PSU and Joe Paterno. He’s probably turning over in his grave right now.

    With JoePa’s integrity in question now, what does that say about the rest of them, the ones we know are dirty? Not that they all are covering up slime like Sandusky, but they all cover up something. Hopefully some good comes of this and the microscope is put on college athletics. My thoughts and prayers go out to the ones who were taken advantage of and I hope justice is served to all involved.

  2. unitastoberry Says:

    Wait till they find out the missing DA (now declared dead) who originally investigated this case and somehow decided NOT to go to court, was paid off and then murdered when he decided to come clean with it. Just my opinion.

  3. Oriole85 Says:

    Drew,
    Well very well written article and even if I don’t like to admit you are right on many things you stated. College sports is a big business no doubt, but the public is largely guilty of letting that happen myself included. College Gameday is one of the best shows IMO. But I think we can all agree what happened at PSU isn’t common or atleast I hope not, way different than the victimless crimes of pay-for-play.

    One correction, FedEx Field where the game between Maryland and Notre Dame is taking place is Landover, MD not DC.

  4. Erich Hawbaker Says:

    I’ve been depressed for a week now over the Penn State scandal. But I don’t think that Joe Paterno is one of these guys you describe who “runs the school” and thinks that the rules are different for him. He was there long before that culture existed, and it grew in around him in my opinion. I simply cannot believe that he would knowingly participate in covering up child molestation. And it also really scares me how easily the media was able to put all the focus on him instead on the guy who was actually doing the molesting. I’m penning a post of my own on the subject, now that Barstool works again I should have it up soon.

  5. matt Says:

    amen

  6. Marty Mossa Says:

    I’m still shaking my head Drew. I can’t beleive it. Although not much of a college football fan, I always admired Joe Paterno and the Penn State Football Program. I remember cheering them on when they beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl for the National Title in 1987. But when you put your own interests before young innocent boys; well I have no use for him. For me child molesters should be treated like stray dogs, throw them in large cage for life, lock it, and throw the key away.

  7. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    Speaks volumes about this country’s moral compass. The more details that surface in the Penn State scandal, the more apparent it becomes that the school and it’s hierarchy placed greater emphasis on protecting their reputation than the welfare of innocent children! Doesn’t get more heinous than that! The school’s football program deserves to be shut down immediately as many on the current coaching staff were probably aware of the coverup. Additionally, the program should be suspended indefintely. How dare those individuals place their interests above innocent children! What’s truly sad is that no amount of punishment will in any way compensate for the victims’ suffering……

  8. matt Says:

    WHOA WHOA WHOA, marty mossa. stray dogs are a product of neglectful humans. they deserve much better than child molesters and those who protect them.

  9. Tim Says:

    @Erich. If you haven’t already, read the grand jury report. The NUMBER of times that Sandusky was witnessed with young boys is staggering – showers, gyms, wrestling rooms, locker rooms, games, practices, coaches meetings, bowl games, pre-game hotel rooms – I lost count. Simply put – this guy seemed to ALWAYS have young boys around him. Lots of people knew this and failed to ask, apparently, “what’s wrong with this picture”?. JoePa is simply the most visible / powerful man (no, he’s not a god) to drop the moral ball. He ran State College, if not the entire state.

  10. tsnamm Says:

    @Eric, I disagree, Paterno DEFINITELY ran Penn State, the usual chain of command at most universities is head coach, AD, University President. At Penn State it was exactly backward ending at Paterno’s doorstep. Penn State put Paterno’s legacy, the football team, and winning above everything, including child molestation. Rumor has it that Sandusky was using his child “charity” to pimp out kids to rich donors as well….if so it’s even more heinous. Lets be honest Drew, college athletics is nothing more than a minor league for the NFL and NBA. If this kind of corruption is as prevalent as you insinuate, then a new system needs to be instituted. But I doubt it will ever happen.

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