I've been very quiet about this issue. I've had a lot of trouble dealing with the Paterno reverence that those of us who've been around for so many decades and watched what he accomplished have had.
There is no excuse for what happened. No doubt about it. And many should be in prison (not jail) over this. Hopefully they will be.
I want to put out a feeling I have, just for thought. Most of you are really young compared to me, and maybe Mufasa, of those still on the board. So maybe you can relate to what I'm going to say, and maybe you can't. I don't know. But I think most of you :lol: are pretty sharp individuals and very concerned about the world in which we live.
I've felt for a very long time that the pressures of handling something as big as Penn St football as an example, may not be handled well by someone who is in his or her 80s. It's possible clearly....look at Warren Buffett (82) and what he accomplishes, T Boone Pickens (84), etc.
But both those men surround themselves with teams of people to accomplish what needs to be accomplished, to present new ideas, to evaluate aspects of the businesses they are involved in and to help them make decisions. They expect to be challenged, they expect the people in their organizations to come up with ideas, to find the right alternatives, and the right solutions to problems and issues. While there's no doubt that there is a huge reverence in their organizations about these two men, and others like them, neither of them allows the demagoguery to control the day.
That's the difference here in my mind. Joe Paterno has been a legend. Much stronger than the University itself. The Board of Trustees allowed it to happen. In fact, they almost ensured that something would go wrong. First of all, 15 year BOT terms themselves are a problem. There seems to be no accountability in that...but that's another issue.
When someone is that age and makes questionable decisions, and has that much of a demagogue reverence, then it's hard to overturn, it's hard to say to that person, wait, have you thought about this? Are you sure that's what we should be doing here? No one would challenge him. He was going to be the football coach until he was on his death bed. But not only the football coach. He was going to make decisions that impacted the University and there was no accounatability whatsoever, probably for the last 20 years or so. Had he earned that reverence? Absolutely. But reverence should not translate to ultimate power. Unfortunately he believed it himself. He was swept up by the power of it, and it's a real shame. A demagogue is a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.
There is no doubt that the frenzy of the successes of all these years under Paterno have made PSU football more to the State of Pennsylvania than it should have been. And if you listen to the legions of young men that he helped along the way, it's easy to be caught up in that reverential feeling.
Many young people were hurt by the fact that his vision was so clouded, that his ability to look at the real picture became one of protection of his legacy to the detriment of so much around him. I don't know if it was age, senility, or the demagogue syndrome that caused him to lose focus. But it is tragic. A man that most of us in college football admired for what he stood for and what he did, caught up in something that he proved unable to handle. I for one think that his age and his status should have been challenged more by the powers that be at PSU. The likelihood is, statistically, that there were going to be issues. And no one in the University, the Governor's office or anywhere else would challenge the man.
To the detriment of all really. Think what this has done to college football. To learning institutions. To the concept that these coaching staffs and university athletics programs protect the young people they are entrusted with. It is a sad time for all athletics, not just PSU. I still love what Joe Paterno was before the last 15 years or so. The credit he was to college football and the positive things he did in so many people's lives. And at the same time, I am deeply troubled that no one recognized, including Joe himself, that there were problems that were more important than his legacy and Penn St football. No one stepped up. Not Joe, not the Board of Trustees...NO ONE.
I am very strong in my feelings that the University, its Board of Trustees, the Governors of the State, and others probably, are just as much to blame as is Paterno. They made him a revered demagogue. They created the environment that allowed this to happen. They put football and its importance to the University above all else.