It is evident that there is extreme pressure placed on the university administration to navigate the "Penn State Sandal". I understand that the Penn State name has been tarnished and certain elements of the school need to rebuild and move forward. What I don't understand is how entire Penn State community is now implicated in the failure of a few men, the justice system, and social services. Why has this grown to the point where students and alumni, who had nothing to do with the crimes, are now associated with "child molestation", "institutional failure", and a culture that has "spun out of control". The actions of a few, are now the burden and shame of anyone associated with the Penn State name.
I am part of the Penn State extended family. I did not attend Penn State, but my father did, and later in life he taught at Penn State. Through the years I grew up to love State College and the Penn State community. I traveled to visit family, attend games, and developed many friendships with Penn Staters over the years.
I don't know if Joe Paterno was part of a cover up or not. I don't claim his innocence or guilt. I've never met Joe Paterno and can't vouch for his character. I do know that that instilled "Success with Honor" as a motto for the football program and his "Grand Experiment" was focused on developing student athletes that would be community contributors well beyond their years playing football. So, his role in this mess is either misunderstood or contradictory.
Penn State is a special place because of the family feel you get on campus. You can't explain it, you just have to experience it. Students, faculty, alumni, and State College residents are filled with Penn State spirit. A spirit built over the years on honor, integrity, and plain good old fashioned family values. Penn State is also an institution that has always strived for strong academic and athletic excellence. This can be seen by top marks for graduating athletes (both football and non-football) as well as recognition as a leading research institution. Penn State has an amazing close knit alumni network. I've seen this first hand having grown up in the DC Metro area. This is the Penn State I know. The university leadership needs to protect these values, and let the rest of the world understand what Penn State stands for.
Penn Staters are now being told that their values are corrupt. Corrupted by an exuberance for football. That their spirit must be destroyed and rebuilt. This is quite frankly a family (which I feel a part of) being torn apart. Penn Staters are shocked by the crimes of Jerry Sandusky. The university has accepted accountability through the changes in leadership and addressing the civil lawsuit penalties. These are all part of the healing process. However, the sanctions and penalties levied by the NCAA are, frankly, designed to kill the Penn State spirit, and wipe clear our culture. A culture built on honor, integrity, and family values. Is this the right path forward?
I'll admit. The departure of Silas Redd hurts. If his main objective was to win a national championship, well, Penn State is no longer the right place for Silas. I did hang my head for a bit, but then I'm re-energized by the students, future students, faculty, alumni, and football players that are sticking with Penn State through thick and thin. These are folks that consider Penn State family. And this makes me extremely proud to be a Penn Stater. Leadership from the Penn State administration has been underwhelming to say the least. But I'm happy to see so many Penn Staters taking a stand and defending what's core to us. We are a family... and We are ... Penn State!
Thanks for listening. This has been therapeutic.