Reforming Athletics After Penn State Scandal: Opinion
After allegations of misconduct first surfaced in 1998 and later in 2001, along with the vice president with responsibility for campus security Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, these officials "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade."
In fact, these officials facilitated this abuse by permitting Sandusky, recently convicted of attacking 10 boys, continued use of athletic facilities after he retired from his work at a nonprofit youth organization that he allegedly used to attract and abuse young boys.
According to the Freeh report, the motivation to turn a blind eye was clear and reprehensible. It is "reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the University -- Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley -- repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the University's Board of Trustees, the Penn State Community and the public at large."
At many universities, false and corrupting loyalty to football and other marquee sports, reaches deeply into the community, as illustrated by the inaction of Pennsylvania law enforcement. In 1998, a mother accused Sandusky of molesting her son. To the woman, he declined to deny touching the boy's private parts and said "I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness."
Sandusky admitted to the Department of Public Welfare and police investigators other wrongful acts, yet Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar did not prosecute, and saw no reason to use the threat of prosecution to require Sandusky to discontinue his programs for boys.
Universities bend admissions to unbelievable contortions to recruit talented young athletes, and faculties are asked to make special provisions. Alumni and community leaders rationalize that sports permit disadvantaged youth opportunities they would not otherwise enjoy and bring in lots of cash to their alma maters -- but it is simply not worth the corrupting consequences or even profitable to the academic mission of most institutions.