We Are (Still) Penn State…Just Better!

August 13, 2012 | Posted by Ken Eisner | No Comments

As a Penn State alumnus, many people have asked me my feelings about the recent events.  As to my association with Penn State, I We Are Still Penn Statehad a wonderful four years.  Those years were academically challenging but also extremely enjoyable.

My remote connections to the individuals involved included doing play-by-play football reporting for the student station and having a sports talk show in which I had Joe Paterno as a guest.  I found Joe Pa to be warm and engaging.  Approximately three years ago, I became a mentor for a junior liberal arts student.  She was a member of the President’s Academy and through her I had the opportunity to meet Graham Spanier.  I only spoke with him for a few minutes, but he appeared to be extremely genuine.

Obviously, what occurred in State College over these past few decades and what has been exposed in recent months is absolutely inexcusable and deplorable.  The actions of all of the individuals involved are unacceptable.

Having said that, I believe that all of the recent consequences emanating from the Freeh Report are premature and misguided.  The Freeh Report is a one-sided account of the circumstances, including having failed to interview many of the key witnesses.  It is not until all of the facts are known that a decision should have been made, including the removal of the Paterno statue.

The NCAA’s punishment is ridiculous.

First, the NCAA used its strong arm to avoid due process.  Due process in its simplest form is for all parties to have an opportunity to be heard.  That didn’t happen here. Second, those that are being hurt the most by the punishment are the current players, none of whom deserve any blame.  Ironically, the elimination of scholarships and prohibition from bowl games may work in Penn State’s favor.  As to the prohibition from bowl games, frankly, Penn State has not been in any significant bowl game for several years.  As Bill O’Brien, the current coach stated “We get the chance to play six bowl games per year in front of 108,000 people.  I do not know how many bowls have 108,000 people.  Last time I checked, there aren’t any.”  Not only will the fans be excessively supportive at home games, but the team will receive a certain level of added support as the visiting team.

While what this monster Sandusky did and the lack of concern for the victims is unacceptable, let’s not lose sight that Penn State remains a leading academic and research institution.  We are 560,000 alumni and 40,000 students each year.  THON is the largest student run philanthropy organization in the world, which, since 1973, has raised more than $98 million for the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that provides support for patients and families battling pediatric cancer.

As to the origin of “We Are Penn State,” it dates back to 1946, when Penn State voted unanimously to cancel a game against a then segregated University of Miami Hurricanes team because it wanted Penn State to abandon its African American players.  A similar situation occurred in 1948, when Southern Methodist University discouraged Penn State from bringing its African American players to the Cotton Bowl.  The team refused to even meet with SMU regarding the matter, instead declaring…




Tags: , ,
Category : Eisner Law Blog, General

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.