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November 7, 2011

How much is corruption worth?

Jerry-SanduskyThe corrupt nature of big-time college football and basketball has been a frequent topic on this blog. Entertaining, yes, but corrupt nonetheless.

So, is it really a surprise that one of the flagship programs and legendary coaches in this corrupt system are being implicated in a particularly repulsive web of corruption?

Condemnation of the actors involved has been the almost universal reaction in social media over the weekend, but caution is advised. We have heard only the prosecutors' story so far and that story may not be true, at least entirely. The reputations and careers of prominent people are at stake here, so restraint at this point is prudent. Hindsight bias and our scapegoat instinct remain strong.

Yet, the allegations remain hugely troubling. A prominent assistant coach was allegedly caught by another coach in a compromising act with a minor. Another employee apparently also testified that he came upon the coach engaging in sex with a minor on school property.

What was done in response? Was it enough? Did it comply with obligations under applicable law? Did university authorities downplay the seriousness of the matter in order to protect a highly popular friend of the football program? Did one of the witnesses not pursue disclosure of the incident further because the football program gave him an assistant coaching position? Were the university's lawyers advised about the incident at the time" If so, what did they advise?

These are the questions that will be asked in the coming days, weeks and months. And the answers may well be troubling.

Make no mistake about it. Not only are these the type of allegations that can destroy lives, careers and families, they can shake institutions even as wealthy and time-honored as Pennsylvania State University to its core.

And at some point the leaders running such institutions must confront a very basic, but troubling, question:

Is the corruption worth it?

And for honest leaders of other institutions who realize it could just have well been theirs involved in this mess, it's a question well worth considering.

Posted by Tom at November 7, 2011 12:00 AM |


i like joe paterno BUT, if it is true he knew long ago and ONLY told the athletic director, did not see to it law enforcement was called by him, if no one else, he did, indeed, act corruptly and shamefully and should quit today--IF this is true--he knows if it is.

Posted by: Dr. TOM Author Profile Page at November 7, 2011 5:15 AM

TomK asked: "Is the corruption worth it?"

Leaders at other institutions will most likely remain in a state of denial, and corruption in their athletic programs will continue - business as usual.

Posted by: Bill McWilliams Author Profile Page at November 7, 2011 6:28 AM

The court of public opinion is so rampant in these types of cases if someone says it is so, then it must be so.. Let's hope that true justice prevails in this case.

Posted by: Dennis Bailey Author Profile Page at November 16, 2011 2:54 AM

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