In light of all the scandals, maybe we aren't Penn State

Posted: November 10, 2011

"WE ARE . . . Penn State!"

At one time, even though I've never even been to Happy Valley, I would have been proud to yell out this prideful Penn State anthem. Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions won the right way. I marveled at Paterno's ability to win big with players like Mike Reid, a defensive tackle and concert pianist; Dennis Onkotz, a great linebacker and student; and John Cappelletti, Heisman winner and loving brother whose words inspired the book and movie "Something for Joey."

I agonized when Alabama stopped Penn State on the goal line in a huge game, but I chalked it up to the "bad guys" getting lucky. I cheered when the "good guys" in plain white uniforms beat the Miami outlaws of Vinny Testaverde and Jerome Brown to win the national championship.

However, when I started to do talk radio, I started to see a different side of Penn State. I saw a side that didn't mesh with the pleasant face of JoePa. It started with Penn State defending a display of a sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary emerging from a bloody vagina. Then there was a "C-Fest," or "Sex Faire," that included Orgasm Bingo, Sex Tent of Consent and other assorted educational activities. It's ironic that Penn State president Graham Spanier was defending this while the Jerry Sandusky matter was unfolding internally.

The most recent Penn State problem was its depiction of a returning military veteran. The hired actor was portrayed to be unbalanced in a training tape for instructors having to deal with difficult students.

"We are . . . Penn State"?

Of course - through all this - there was still JoePa. Maybe they were not winning as much, but he still was doing it the right way. Then there were scattered reports of Penn State athletes and brushes with the law. This culminated with a 2008 ESPN "Outside the Lines" report indicating that Penn State had a big problem with its football team. They indicated that from 2002 to 2008, 46 Penn State football players faced 163 criminal charges.

With all this as prelude, does it surprise me that former Penn State assistant coach Sandusky has been charged with many counts of unspeakable acts against children? Is it surprising that two top Penn State officials have been charged with not reporting these acts to police and perjuring themselves before the grand jury? Am I surprised that Spanier was informed and did not report it to the police? Am I surprised that Paterno was told by a graduate assistant that he saw Sandusky sexually assault a child in the showers at Penn State and that Paterno only lamely reported to his "bosses"? No, no, and no.

To me, the big story is not Paterno or his legacy but rather that, as I believe, over the years Penn State has amassed such power that it thought it was a law unto itself. Until recently, it was correct in this assessment.

If Paterno and the others decided to let Sandusky retire but keep a key to the facilities, an office near Paterno and a main role in a charity that gave him easy access to many troubled kids, then that is the standard set, case closed.

Remember, Penn State has over a $4 billion-a-year budget, the most alums of any college in the country and eager politicians wanting to sit on the 50-yard line at home games.

We've seen this play out when Gov. Corbett challenged it to cut about 4 percent from its budget. It threatened to close satellite campuses. According to USA Today, it already has the highest in-state tuition rate of any state university.

I think there's no debating that Spanier and Paterno had to go. The athletic director and other Penn State officials, if convicted, should not receive a pension that Pennsylvania taxpayers would fund.

The bottom line in all this is that it is time to remind the enablers of all this at Penn State that "We are . . . Your Boss"!

Teacher-turned-talk-show-host Dom Giordano is heard on the New Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Monday to Friday, 9 to noon. Contact him at

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