- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In college towns all across America, intercollegiate athletics - especially college football - play an integral role in the college atmosphere and spirit of a university. Unfortunately, the sordid revelations of recent weeks in Happy Valley have exposed the most despicable part of big-time college athletics, especially among powerful college football programs (Penn State abuse scandal likely to spawn lawsuits,” Web, Friday).

In the past, college football programs have been sanctioned for offenses such as recruiting violations and impermissible booster contact and punished by the NCAA. However, the transgressions that purportedly occurred at Penn State over the past 10 years, if not longer, are shameful and morally reprehensible, a prime example of a college football program that became larger than life.

The Penn State program answered to no one and simply did what it wanted to do. The failure to report and take proactive measures was tied directly to the institutional win-at-any-cost mentality, which is prevalent at many of the major Division I programs in the country, including Penn State.

You cannot tell me that the potential detrimental effect on recruiting that would have been the direct result of public knowledge and media disclosure of a scandal did not weigh heavily into Joe Paterno’s decision to meet only his legal obligation of reporting the suspected offense to his superiors and do nothing more.

This was a systemic failure to enforce justice and ensure the safety of innocent children from the football team’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, an alleged sexual predator. I am saddened and appalled by the fact that abuse is alleged to have continued for at least seven more years after an incident was first reported to Mr. Paterno in 2002.

Mr. Paterno met all of his legal obligations by reporting the alleged crime to his superiors, but it is my contention that he had a moral responsibility to do something more. He should not have washed his hands of a felony attack reported to have occurred in the Penn State football facility.

The bottom line should have been the protection of innocent victims. Instead, the football program and college administrators decided to sweep things under the rug and continue doing business as usual. Mr. Paterno and university administrators will have to live their entire lives with the heavy burden of past decisions and failure to act as well as the failure to protect the numerous lives that were affected.

EUGENE T. LEE

President, CEO

ETL Associates Inc.

New York

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