The title of this post is a lyric from my alma mater.
I’m a Nittany Lion gal. And always have been. I bleed Blue and White.
I am a born, bred, and educated Central Pennsylvanian. I grew up in the shadow of Old Main, the Nittany Lion Shrine, and the bright lights of Beaver Stadium. I went on school field trips to campus, marveling at all the buildings and the vibrant culture. Anything from Penn State I absorbed like a sponge; as a child I looked up to the great institution. And not only was I accepted into Penn State, I was proud that I was accepted into the University Park campus on early admission.
I made the most out of my
four five years there (I did have a double major) and never will forget my experiences. I pledged a sorority. I raised money and stayed on my feet for 48 straight hours for kids with cancer. I studied abroad. I worked (and partied) my butt off. And of course, I went to a gamut of football games and screamed until my throat became sore.
Penn State football reigns supreme. If Penn State is Camelot, then Paterno is KING. Fall football weekends are ablaze in blue and white – not red, green and gold . If you couldn’t find the game on TV, no worries, you can turn on the radio and the commentary is just like as if you were there. If you had absolutely nothing to say to a stranger, try the line, “So how ’bout dem Nittany Lions?” Works about 99% of the time. And so, one can easily surmise how important the football program is not only to other athletic teams at school (it generates the revenue to support the majority of other sports) but the lifeblood of alumni and locals.
This scandal has rocked not only Happy Valley but the nation that is used to scandals and possible coverups. And to the millions of alumni, it has shaken to their core their love for dear old State.
A former defensive coordinator for Penn State, Jerry Sandusky has been arrested and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse towards 8 boys.
I won’t go into the details, you can find them in the grand jury document (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING CONTENT: Grand Jury Report).
On top of those charges, the school’s AD (Tim Curley) and the VP for Finance and Business (Gary Schulz) have also been charged with perjury and failure to report based on an incident.
And as the days go on, and as I keep trying to get my thoughts in order, the news just keep coming. Officials getting placed on Administrative Leave (one now retired), JoePa’s weekly conference canceled by Penn State, then rumors of JoePa’s resignation and now confirmation…new victims coming forward…it’s mind numbing.
HOW THE HELL DID THIS GO ON…FOR SO LONG?
There are just so many things wrong with this situation.
When the initial rumblings came out in March, it did not bode well for the released grand jury report. Yes, this actually has been around for a while (well at least I knew about it). The details are graphic. The pointing of fingers on who didn’t do what and “I reported it and that’s all I can do” is absolutely sickening.
Amongst the litany of problems:
- A 1998 incident that the Assistant D.A. at the time never formally filed charges. That person, Ray Gricar, disappeared in 2005 without a trace. He was never found; he was declared legally dead this summer.
- A 2000 incident in which a janitor told his supervisor but nothing else was done. According to the grand jury report, that janitor is now in a nursing home diagnosed with dementia and unable to testify.
- A 2002 incident (the one where the graduate student told Joe Paterno) that was never reported to the police. Sandusky was then banned from using athletic facilities with young people. Oh gee thanks.
Sandusky’s charity (The Second Mile) is an organization that serves at-risk youth through early intervention and community-based programs. And the victims allegedly are from said charity. Yes, the ones that need the most from the community to become great members of society were allegedly targeted. The ones, upon first glance, that won’t speak up because of what they could possibly lose.
It all stinks to high heaven. The abuse, the power plays, the cover-up.
This not about “pay-for-play”, getting suits, agents or tattoos.
THIS IS ABOUT VULNERABLE CHILDREN.
And it’s time to clean house and get rid of everyone now. We already know about the officials and JoePa. And God willing, Spanier is on his way out too very quickly.
But for all those people that want to bash the alumni, you are barking in the wrong corner. We are just as pissed off, and sometimes even more, than you are.
Keep your anger pointed the real criminals: at Sandusky, the coaching staff, and the Administration. And remember who it’s really about – justice for the victims that are finally strong enough to come forward. We need to support them more than ever. As the last verse of the alma mater says,
When we stood at childhood’s gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us, dear old State,
Dear old State, dear old State.