I Don't Want to Play Penn State Anymore

I don't want to play Penn State anymore.

Playing Penn State used to be fun.

It was about football and history and tradition and two great programs meeting on the gridiron. It usually meant two great teams battling for a shot at the Big Ten title, resulting in a classic game worthy of remembering...for one side at least.

Now, I just want it to be over with so I can move on.

I don't want to play Penn State anymore.

I didn't feel this way back in 2011, when the Sandusky scandal broke and we learned about Joe Paterno's involvement. Penn State, from top to bottom, had seriously f'ed up. But they seemed willing own up to and face the repercussions, as well they should. Laws were broken. Laws of nature were broken. And everyone who was even remotely involved, from Paterno to the AD to the university president, were fired.

The NCAA took swift and decisive action against Penn State. A huge fine, multi-year bowl ban (which was rescinded, fwiw), significant scholarship losses...pretty much the closest you can get to the death penalty without getting the death penalty. But the real penalty was the hit Penn State took in the court of public opinion. It was about as ugly of a situation one could possibly imagine...the raping of young boys by a football coach...and it was covered up for decades by an institution of higher learning – all in the name of glory on the football field.

After the NCAA sanctions and criminal trial, it seemed as if the worst was over. Sandusky will die in jail, Joe Paterno has passed away, the football program served their sanctions and repaid their fines...it seemed as if everyone was just willing to move on.

And I was okay with that. I felt horrible for the victims. I felt sad for the Penn State fans who had to deal with this sudden unexpected reality. But regardless, it was time for Penn State to forget the past and build a new future where the football program was no longer too big to fail or be held accountable.

But I guess that's not what Penn State had in mind.

When the university announced last month that they were going to publicly honor the 50th anniversary of Paterno's first game at Penn State, I wasn't sure which level of frustration would be appropriate. On one hand, it's their problem if they want to delve into that ugly abyss. But on the other hand, Joe Paterno was complicit in the rape of dozens of young boys over the course of decades and this goes way beyond the scope of sports and into the realm of human decency.

It opens up not only the football program, but the entire fan base to criticism from everyone who is genuinely curious if Penn State is actually cognizant of what happened and how serious it really is. You wouldn't think such painfully obvious questions would need to be asked about such a deplorable thing, especially after everything that has already happened...yet here we are.

By honoring Joe Paterno, two things are obvious. First, no one at Penn State wants to blame JoePa for anything...Sandusky is their scapegoat. And second, football is still king in Happy Valley.

Now, I know I am just a Michigan blogger and the only reason I'm writing this is because at 3:30 tomorrow we will line up to play each other...and who honestly cares what I think? I'm just another in a long line of people who are appalled at the overwhelming ignorance displayed by Penn State here.

But I just can't ignore the fact that I don't want to play Penn State anymore.

I don't want the Big Ten to have anything to do with Penn State. I just want them to go away. And this is from a guy who genuinely liked playing Penn State. I've been to a game in Happy Valley and I loved the atmosphere and the fans there. But as long as there exists this reality bubble around State College, I just can't see myself looking forward to this matchup.

By grasping onto a disgraceful past, Penn State is ruining their chance at redemption.

At least in this humble blogger's opinion.

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