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Edge-itorial: The Penn State Situation

Editor’s Note – From time to time you’ll find OTP’s resident rocker Edge voicing his opinion on things college football related. Aside from being the producer brains behind the OTPcast, Edge brings it with the written word as well, in the form of Edge-itorials. You know… like editorials. Only better. And Edgier.

John Surma and the Penn State Board of Trustees finally began to right the ship at PSU last night says Edge

Over the past week, we saw and heard as the unknown quickly gave way to horror.

Despite the focus on the Penn State campus that Joe Paterno has been relieved of his duties after 46 seasons and 409 wins, the real tragedy here is what happened to those boys, some of them now in their mid-twenties, at the hands of Jerry Sandusky. It’s difficult to put into words the horrible injustice done to them and their families. The decisions the Penn State board of trustees have made in the past few days have been undoubtedly difficult, but they have also been necessary and important in both helping those families heal.

What didn’t help? The demonstrating/protesting/rioting by a number of Penn State students when word came down that Joe Paterno was fired. It is certainly understandable the feeling of grief that a figurehead who was coaching for over 30 years before they were even born would not be on the sidelines this weekend. Not necessarily an “us and them” type of protest – I am sure the students meant no disrespect towards the victims and their families, but seeing how things unfolded last night easily came across as insulting. Want to protest and march (and occupy) about something? Do it for the victims.

Make no mistake: Joe is not a victim. He had to go. So did Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz. And so does Mike McQueary, who, as of this writing, is still miraculously employed. All of these men, and surely many unnamed others, completely failed those kids and their families, let down their university, and now must have to live with their collective immoralities and inaction.

It is also encouraging that the US Department of Education is to launch a federal investigation of these events that stretch back nearly 15 years, at least as far as we can tell. Again, the university failed those kids, and if it couldn’t hold accountable those adults who were witness to these monstrous acts, it is reassuring that steps are being taken to ensure the future safety of children.

This year certainly started off with some pretty major black eyes for the sport with the Miami and Ohio State debacles. It appeared we were about to live the mid-eighties all over again with these over-the-top stories about prostitutes, tattoos, cars, parties, and abortions. Who would have thought that after weathering that storm that we’d be discussing a nightmare of this magnitude?

Expect to see sweeping changes in the next few weeks at Penn State, and don’t expect to see any familiar faces on the sidelines in 2012. The only thing to do in terms of the football program is to purge and start over. Give the alums, students, and fans of the program a fresh start. And do it quickly. This is an easy decision, and it will undoubtedly get the focus back to what matters.

While this is a college football story for the ages and the end of a seemingly unending era, it does go much deeper and will play out for years to come. I am hopeful that the justice system will prevail and that the cloud of emotions will lift, shifting displaced anger to positive action.

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