No matter how you slice it, what’s been going on at Penn State is horrible: first and foremost for ever-growing number of kids (allegedly) abused by Sandusky, former assistant football coach and founder/head of Second Mile, and their parents. What a horrible, horrible nightmare. Now, though, bits and pieces of information are coming out that sure make it appear that there’s been a massive cover-up, perhaps from the governor of Pennsylvania — who was the state Attorney General when allegations starting coming out in the late 90s and early 2000s — and down to the public safety system and through the ranks of Penn State’s administration and coaching staff.
And, now, as allegations of abuse are surfacing at Syracuse University, another sports powerhouse (although not a public one like Penn State), Katha Pollitt gets to the root of a big problem at these schools… really nails it, in my opinion. In her article in The Nation, Penn State’s Patriarchal Pastimes,Pollitt gets to the heart of a college culture that is all too common accross the country: huge athletic programs that in some cases really drive the institutions. Athletic programs that are almost a religion for many insitutions…the “too big to fail” of college programs. Pollitt really gets it when she writes about the culture of football at Penn State, where it now looks like no one dared question or doubt anything about the program, apparently at the expense of many young boys.
Check out Pollitt’s article. Her analysis, I think, is dead on, not only in terms of the current scandal, but also as far as the role of state schcools…state schools that, like Penn State, recruit top athletes from top high school programs and then provide them with lucrative scholarship packages, regardless of need, and other perks… all the while whining about state funding cuts that apparently — judging by this piece and others, as well as the public record of the crazy salaries and retirement package Sandusky and his cronies have received — didn’t reach the students in need. And now this?
Where are our states’ priorities? Where are our schools’ priorities? Where are our priorities? Penn State’s administration, security and coaching staff (oh, and a certain grad student) failed a bunch of young boys because their football program, their good old boy network, was more important. A lucrative, state-funded and — in their eyes — entitled-to-more, system.
What a freakin’ mess. And we wonder why college — even the supposed public ones — are inaccessible for so many, or why the old boy network is so pervasive in business and so many of our business men have such a sense of entitlement?