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Tasting the bitterness of corruption

Columnist

Published: Monday, December 5, 2011

Updated: Monday, December 5, 2011 22:12

A recent Atlanta Public School System scandal involved a cheating ring and resulted in the revoking of eight teacher licenses and those of three Atlanta area academic administrators.

Motivated by the incentives and benefits reaped based on their students scoring high on standardized tests, these educators conspired and erased many students' wrong answers to fill in the right ones. They would even give students the answers before the tests were administered at times.

This abhorrent demonstration of character can serve as a valuable lesson to many people, but especially for former Pennsylvania (Penn) State University head football coach Joe Paterno, as far as the sports realm is concerned.

Beverly Hall, the recently retired superintendent of this school system, said she didn't know anything was going on and didn't think she should have done anything differently, and wouldn't have done anything differently, to prevent such behavior.

This despite a state investigation concluding that she either was aware or should definitely have been aware of the misconduct.

Sound familiar?

That's right, Paterno was allegedly told of the sexual assault that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky committed by graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary, who has stated that he told Paterno exactly what he had witnessed: the defensive coordinator showering with a young boy.

However, Paterno has denied knowing specifically what happened when McQueary told him about the incident.

As NBC's Brian Williams reported on Rock Center about the Atlanta public schools, there is problem of accountability in today's American society, and it couldn't be more evident here.

The bloodsuckers on Wall Street that took peoples' hard-earned money and contributed to the 2008 financial meltdown and many of the politicians that serve their interests, would likely be the grandest examples of lack of accountability in society, but Paterno is sports' Exhibit A on the problem.

Where is the accountability in college sports in general? In Paterno's case, wasn't it too late?

There is a reason these allegations against Sandusky weren't looked into more seriously: Paterno essentially knew of them years ago, but since it wasn't "his job" to handle that sort of serious issue, the repugnant alleged actions of Sandusky continued, and more young children were scarred for life.

Even though law isn't listed in his job description, Paterno built the house that is Penn State football, and he did absolutely nothing to address such a serious potential crime that could create such a bad name for the program … mainly due to his selfishness.

The people at the top in society need to be responsible for the dirt that goes on under their watch. Simply letting corruption slide by the way side at the top of an athletic institution such as Penn State will only create stronger blowback down the road.

The greater the trust and stability built, the harder the fall. Letting corruption slide also creates the slippery slope that can create phony legendary figures like Joe Paterno, who has been revealed to be a fraud.

It's fairly obvious that he favored his status, wealth, power and influence in the world of sports more than the moral foundation he dictated to his players in his many decades as coach in order to build such a successful program.

What happened to so-called "integrity," one of the pillars preached by many successful sports coaches? What is the honor in what Paterno did by remaining silent?

Riddle me this: who uttered these words: "Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good."

Answer: Joe Paterno. How does that taste, JoePa?

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