I tried to watch this story not as a laughing Michigan fan, but as a horrified Penn State fan. And while I felt a little dirty afterwords, I couldn't help but feel that if this was my favorite team, I'd be moderately concerned...from a recruiting perspective at least!
As I can see it, and I might be totally off here, Joe Paterno may be one of the greatest coaches this game has ever seen, but he has totally lost control...and his mind. He may not even be involved in the day-to-day operations of the football team. And if he isn't, fine. But who is? And why doesn't anyone know?
He's about to start his 43rd season as head coach. I figured this may be one of the better years Penn State has seen in a while. I mean the Big Ten is way down...OSU is slightly overrated, IMO, and Michigan is transitioning. Penn State is ripe for a banner year, they have the talent. But after this glimpse into the inner workings of their program, now, I think maybe not.
But, I'm not going to go all "told you so" here. And I'm also not going to play Michigan fanboy and bash the PSU program. I think ESPN did a pretty good job of that. Watching JoPa claim "witch hunt" a bunch of times was worthwhile enough. But hey, its easy to not see the forest through the trees. Michigan fans are guilty of that. The whole Rodriguez fiasco is a prime example. But the only difference here is, all he did is change jobs and torch the bridge as he left town. Penn State players are beating up students, en masse. And being charged with rape, assault, underage drinking, and a host of many other typical charges that you would expect to see once in a while on a college campus. The problem here is, it's happening all the time and all at the same school.
So what's it all mean? It means that the program is out of control. And I don't mean that in a "Kevin Borseth post-game presser" kind of way, but in a "Iceberg, right ahead!!!" kind of way. How did it get to this point? Why have Penn State administrators and the athletic department not taken more drastic measures? What is this, Ohio State?
Look, all I'm saying is, I'm not going to get on ESPN for making this a headline story. This is a headline story. The numbers speak for themselves:
Since 2002, 46 Penn State football players have faced 163 criminal charges, according to an ESPN analysis of Pennsylvania court records and reports. Twenty-seven players have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to a combined 45 counts.Go ahead PSU fans...twist those numbers. Please, I beg you. Come back at me with a Kevin Grady rip. Try. No matter how you look at it, there is no comparison. Penn State has a serious problem, and it all starts at the top. Fire Paterno, keep him...whatever. Someone needs to be held accountable. It's not the players. The simple "boys will be boys" attitude that Paterno has seemingly adopted just doesn't cut it. His punishment of making them clean the stadium after games was ridiculous...especially since he stopped midway through the season. How many would like to bet he wasn't even there to observe?
I typically don't get to wrapped up in other Big Ten teams problems. But when its this bad, I feel compelled. It's just bad PR for the conference. Ohio State loosing 2 BCS title games in a row sucks for all of us, but this is just stupid. With a little more honest leadership and better enforcement of rules, this all could've been avoided. Shame on Penn State and shame on Paterno for letting this happen.
I swear, all I want is for some damn football to start being played!