No Disneyland for You

This observation (via)by Jessica Banks, a former Penn State grad student / teaching assistant makes sense to me:

The kids who marched in the streets last night — it wasn’t a riot; the lampposts in Beaver Canyon get torn down for everything from St. Patrick’s Day to a busy night during Arts Fest — might have said they were doing it in support of their beloved JoePa, but it wasn’t really about that. It was about the value of what they’re at Penn State for. Most of them are going to graduate twenty to fifty thousand dollars in debt, much more than they would pay to go to one of the many Commonwealth Campuses across Pennsylvania. Part of what they’re paying for is the experience in State College, and for almost 50 years, that experience depends on having a team to be proud of, and a school that others admire.

From what I can tell, Penn State is one of those colleges marketed as an experience.  It’s an academically undistinguished state college in a dull little town with a good football team and a solid drinking tradition (it’s been profiled as the  #1 party school in the nation).  You go to Penn State for football and good times.   Being a Penn State alum gives you something to talk about in interviews and social occasions when the topic of college comes up, and your colleagues and friends who went to an undistinguished college that didn’t have Joe Paterno or epic drunken football weekends will think that you experienced something a little special.

That’s over now, and I can see why a 19 year-old facing a mountain of student debt would be upset when something that was worth a premium last week is now a liability.  It’s like paying extra to go to Disneyland instead of the local street carnival, and finding out that all the rides are closed.  Why a lot of people confuse getting an education with having a Disney-like experience is a whole other question, and probably one that we might want to examine more fully.

Update: As commenters point out, PSU is actually a fairly high-ranked state school for undergraduate education. Also, too: I’m not trying to excuse the behavior, just find an explanation.

279 replies
  1. 1
    geg6 says:

    From what I can tell, Penn State is one of those colleges marketed as an experience.

    This is very true. But not in the way that you characterize it.

    It’s an academically undistinguished state college

    This is absolutely untrue, but if it feels good to you to say such a thing, go for it.

  2. 2
    forked tongue says:

    As someone not merely indifferent but actively hostile to the culture of sports, I’d never heard any of these names until a few days ago. That what went on at PSU is disgusting and demoralizing goes without saying, but I’m even having a hard time with the reminders of a reality I’d tried to suppress: that there are schools where football means this fucking much.

    There isn’t any chance that people all over will just stop giving a shit about sports now, is there?

  3. 3
    superking says:

    WHO GIVES A FUCK?

    There is no excuse for rioting in defense of child rape. These college students need to grow the fuck up. Joe Paterno is not your grandfather. He’s the guy who looked the other way when he was told about a child molester that he hired and let use his facilities.

  4. 4
    RossInDetroit says:

    Why a lot of people confuse getting an education with having a Disney-like experience is a whole other question, and probably one that we might want to examine more fully.

    Because they make the decision when they’re high school students and not adults.

  5. 5
    Butch says:

    @forked tongue: You said what I was thinking but so much better.

  6. 6
    Cat Lady says:

    There are an awful lot of victims today, including the entire PSU student body. Heckuva job JoePa.

  7. 7
    RSA says:

    @geg6:

    It’s an academically undistinguished state college

    Penn State typically ranks between 10 and 20 for undergrad education among public universities, and some of its engineering departments are top-notch.

  8. 8
    mistermix says:

    @superking: I guess it wasn’t quite clear in this post, but I pretty much agree with you. I don’t understand wtf is going on at PSU and I thought that the post I linked to explained it.

  9. 9
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Well, the Catholic Church probably took an economic hit in terms of donations and so on because of all the scandals, so I guess I can see where not disciplining or prosecuting any priests or their supervising bishops so that the seminary students and everyone else could have a better education would be a valid argument.

    Puh lease.

  10. 10
    soonergrunt says:

    @geg6: I wouldn’t normally agree with geg6 on hardly anything, but Penn State has a very good academic reputation. That’s one of the things that they were talking about on NPR yesterday with their sports guy, Stefan Fatsis, and how Penn State could salvage the school’s reputation by focusing on their academic reputation while they rebuild their athletics department.
    PSU has a great reputation for engineering, med/pre-med, and business schools.

  11. 11
    Poopyman says:

    It’s an academically undistinguished state college

    Certifiably false, if you bother to look at some of the research coming out of University Park (and probably Hershey, but I’m not familiar with it).

    Frankly, PSU is a pretty good school for in-state kids who can’t afford a private college. I’m fairly certain that some portion of those kids were protesting in support of Paterno, because a school that size is a fair representation of society as a whole and, well, “27%”, or the fact that Herman Cain is still the GOP front runner, ought to tell you something.

  12. 12
    Admiral_Komack says:

    BULLSHIT!

    The thugs were rioting AND they were thugs!

  13. 13
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @mistermix: I must have misunderstood too then and/or my comment is directed at them and not your post.

  14. 14
    Matt says:

    It’s an academically undistinguished state college

    I’m no Penn State fan, but as others have mentioned, that is just false.

  15. 15
    Poopyman says:

    @soonergrunt: Hey Sooner! A Happy (and peaceful!) Veteran’s Day to you.

  16. 16
    Socrates_Johnson says:

    http://colleges.usnews.ranking.....top-public

    Penn State is often referred to as a “public ivy.” Now this is one of those distinctions that’s really meant more to make the students, faculty, alumni, etc… feel better about themselves, but it’s not completely unfounded. You don’t get into the AAU and the Big Ten without SOME sort of academic distinction. Academically, it IS much more of a research institution than one that focuses on the undergraduates though. Maybe that’s what you meant.

    There are a lot of reasons to be trashing the university and its administration right now, there’s no reason to add ones that aren’t there.

    Regardless, what those students did was a disgrace and I am embarrassed to have gone there right now. I was yelling at my TV while watching news reports of the footage. The eyes of the nation are on you right now and this is what you show them! How am I supposed to try and tell people that this is just one major black eye on an otherwise good institution if you act like this?!

    I think they were reacting out of frustration and, due to some sort of cognitive dissonance, didn’t want to aim it at JoePa. They just can’t believe that he would look the other way at something like this, so clearly he must have done what he should. (Their hypothetical thoughts, not mine.) I am ashamed at their actions and I think (hope) that in time they will be ashamed as well.

  17. 17
    Brandon says:

    This post is wrong on so many levels and just reads as excuse making. If the PSU student body are tearing down lamposts during Arts Fest then they are rioting during Arts Fest. And what friggin’ university and town would allow so many people to go out and riot for any reason and at any time? The obvious answer was not just that the situation within the football program was out of control, but also that the situation throughout the entire campus and town were out of control. If I am to take this excuse making as true, there weren’t any adults there at all, which is a believeable, yet scary fact.

    Also too, this idiotic form of excuse making could be equally made by those dumbasses rioting and looting in London over the summer. I’d take you seriously mistermix if you were at least consistent in excuse making for idiots that deserve no sympathy.

  18. 18
    chopper says:

    anybody who put themselves in tons of debt to go to a ‘party school’ is a moron.

  19. 19
    RSA says:

    in a dull little town

    This is much harder to disagree with. Three hours from anywhere.

  20. 20
    Poopyman says:

    Oh hey, and just to muddy the waters here about Paterno and academics:

    In 1983, as Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was being honored for his first national championship, he gave a speech challenging the university’s Board of Trustees to make Penn State number one in academics as well as athletics. He specifically targeted the need for a top-quality library, stating, “Without a great library, you can’t have a great university.”[4] In 1993, he and his wife Sue began a campaign which raised $13.75 million for the construction of a new library. The groundbreaking for the library, named the Paterno Library in their honor, took place in April 1997. Paterno has also donated several million of his own money towards the library.
    __
    Construction was completed in fall 2000, and the building was dedicated on September 8, 2000. The building is connected to the Pattee Library, and shares a common circulation desk. The former East Wing of Pattee forms a portion of the Paterno Library. Paterno Library is home to the Business, Education and Behavioral Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, and Special Collections libraries.

  21. 21
    Admiral_Komack says:

    “This post is wrong on so many levels and just reads as excuse making.”

    Damn right!
    Damned thugs!

  22. 22
    Walker says:

    @RSA:

    This is much harder to disagree with. Three hours from anywhere.

    I gave a talk there last year and drove (since it is only 5 hours, and flying there would take even longer). What really got me was the smell about 45 minutes outside of town. The smell of mining and industry is overpowering.

  23. 23
    RP says:

    I didn’t interpret her post as excuse making. I think she was trying to explain the students’ mindset. If I say that some thug became a gang member and a drug dealer because he felt that he didn’t have any other options in life, I’m not excusing or forgiving his criminal activity, just trying to understand its origin. The issue is prevention: the only way we’re going to stop s*** like this from happening in the future is if we understand why it’s happening now.

  24. 24
    Snarkworth says:

    Football aside, Penn State has much to be proud of. It’s been an engine of upward mobility in this state. The children of coal miners/steel workers/plumbers/nurses who did well in high school could educate their way into the middle or professional class.

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    If you are going to school for the Network; that’s the social/sports/old-boy reasons to choose what you choose.

    Especially if you live, or want to remain living, in a place without a lot of movement. LA, NYC, Chi-Town; these are places that attract outsiders, even welcome them. They are a goal for a certain kind of striver, and are the “bright lights, big city” experience for every small town in the Nation who has young people desperate to get out.

    But there’s the other kind of person… the one who wants to stay right where they are, near their parents and grade school buddies and favorite hangouts and known associates. They want and need to plug into the power structure AT HOME; and a school with a lively and nationally known sports culture builds that right in. Anywhere you go is a fellow alumni group that welcomes you in, knows the in-phrases, and gives you automatic cred based on other people just like you; it organizes ALL your time, from work to play, in a structure with social and business advantages that follow you your entire life.

    That’s the pull of fraternities, the Ivy League Axis, and, yes, even sports teams. You start a new job as an XXX fan, and find out your new boss is one, too? You’re golden.

  26. 26
    HRA says:

    The “experience” is called prestige and it does not only apply to Penn State. Unfortunately, it is attached to athletics rather than academics in too many examples and it did play an important part in the past and recent events there.

    It will never make sense to me for anyone to destroy property for any reason. Where does anyone think the price of replacing those lampposts will be taken from?

  27. 27
    RossInDetroit says:

    @forked tongue:

    I’m no fan of sports culture either, but I can accept pro sports as a hobby/interest that’s relatively harmless.
    Having attended a Big 10 university I really don’t like the prominence and influence that college sports, and football in particular, have.

  28. 28
    artem1s says:

    Part of what they’re paying for is the experience in State College, and for almost 50 years, that experience depends on having a team to be proud of, and a school that others admire.

    NO.NO.NO.NO. this bullshit myth is being sold to kids who are the 80% paying tuition so the top 10% on scholarships can concentrate on getting an education. and when the scandals break, and they always do, faculty and staff knows that every other program’s budget is going to suffer for it. trust me, the vast majority of kids trying to get through school hate the assholes who spend every weekend trashing the campus in honor of the athletics department.

    just because some of the kids buy into it doesn’t make it the pinnacle of every college kids experience.

    oh yea, drinking yourself blind is NOT a good interview topic when you are trying to move from a top state school to a top notch graduate program. but by the time these kids get it they are already fast tracked into crappy middle management jobs (or worse) for the rest of their lives.

  29. 29
    Poopyman says:

    @Walker: Musta gone through Tyrone. Paper mill.

  30. 30
    superdestroyer says:

    Penn State is the largest school in the northeast United States that has Wal-Mart alumni (hangers-on) who follow the sports teams but have no other connection to the school.

    In that, Penn State is more like the universities in the SEC than the other state universities in the northeast United States.

  31. 31
    Steve says:

    Of course it wasn’t a riot. Those were mostly white kids.

  32. 32
    Judas Escargot says:

    @superking:

    This.

    I have always hated sports, but the “sports == religion == tribalism” meme is so facile and trite that I haven’t bothered propagating it. I just try to ignore them (hard to do in this culture but not impossible) and move on. Let others have their fun.

    The fact that the tribalism of sports (like religion, after all) is apparently strong enough to excuse child rapists, however, makes me just a little more actively hostile to sports culture than I was just a week ago.

  33. 33
    Tyro says:

    I’m going to dissent from those trying to defend Penn State’s academic reputation. “Undistinguished” is a fair assessment– “45th in the nation” or “in the top 1/3rd of state universities” is what we think of when we are thinking of an undistinguished middle-of-the-road academic school. When someone can honestly say, “I could name a dozen state schools better than Penn State”, that’s what they are thinking when they say “undistinguished.” But it has cachet because odds are you have “heard” of it.

    This doesn’t mean “bad,” simply interchangeable with any number of other state schools and less desirable than several other state schools and many private universities. Gripes, I don’t know why everyone is trying to leap to the defense of Penn State over the descriptor “undistinguished.”

  34. 34
    Walker says:

    @Poopyman:

    Tyrone is south. I was coming down from the north via 220.

  35. 35
    Rome Again says:

    “No Disneyland” – while I didn’t call it that, I had the same thought yesterday.

  36. 36
    scav says:

    @Tyro: I think it also matters what discipline people are coming from. Geography/GIS standing has little to do with, say, that of Biology. In my world (I’ve drifted a bit since), PSU was right up there.

  37. 37
    ericblair says:

    I think it’s more just basic tribalism than a bunch of undergrads making ROI calculations based on a sudden change in intangible asset valuations. Hit any school as a freshman and it’s the start of “Yay for INSERT_SCHOOL_NAME_HERE” and “INSERT_SCHOOL_NAME_HERE Forever!” You’re away from home, officially out of your high school setting, and told in no uncertain terms that this is your tribe now.

    So, now the tribe is under attack. What do you do? You riot like a mindlessly loyal pissed off animal, I guess.

  38. 38
    Shlemizel says:

    @forked tongue:

    Hear hear! I stopped being indifferent to our culture of sport worship some time back & have pretty much moved to open hostility in response to the deification of all things athletic. I doubt there is a single college program – and certainly none of the ‘successful’ ones – that is really clean. Just scratch a bit & you will find someone cutting corners, making allowances, turning a blind eye, if not out right cheating.

    Its sad because I used to really enjoy the games & cheering for ‘my’ team. I hope they never did anything as heinous as PSU but am afraid they might if they were in that situation. Winning trumps morality.

  39. 39
    Surly Duff says:

    I’m not trying to excuse the behavior, just find an explanation.

    The explanation is that a couple thousand students, lacking critical thinking skills while simultaneously not lacking booze, decided to protest the justifiable firing of a senile man who the University and student-body had spent decades building into an icon, who “did things the right way”. It damaged their own personal belief of how awesome their school is and, since Paterno is a stand-in for the value of their school, they mistakenly viewed his fall from grace as some wrong leveled against themselves.

    The fact that this same senile football coach was complicit in the cover-up of a child rape scandal becase it involved a prominent member of his former staff and would damage the reputation of his program never even factored into the equation for those rioters. And the fact that their actions would do further damage to the reputation of the school was never considered.

    the short explanation: Stupid kids being stupid (and some being drunk).

  40. 40
    Rome Again says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I highly doubt the Catholic Church is suffering. I’ve seen several instances in recent years of people deciding to convert TO Catholicism. I recently read one person’s experience with this online, where he states he did so BECAUSE of Chick Tracts. Apparently he was trying to prove that Jack Chick could have the opposite effect on a person and in so doing, he’s now stating he’s becoming a much better person having converted.

    Catholics still add onto their rolls and lifelong Catholics still circle their wagons. Money is not a problem.

  41. 41
    Raven says:

    This isn’t that fucking hard to find

    Penn State University Park is ranked among the top 15 public universities nationally [8] and is considered to be one of America’s Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States.[9][10] Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 44,000 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States.

    And how many people were “rioting”? I blows up a lot of shit if it’s pointed out how few people are really doing any of this shit.

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:

    epic drunken football weekends

    Pretty much covers any non-commuter undergraduate institution, doesn’t it?
    My daughter went to an Eastern state university where the louts throw burning couches off the high-rise dorm balconies.
    1AA football, 14000 seat stadium, occasionally good, but nowhere near Big10 level.

  43. 43
    Admiral_Komack says:

    @superking:
    Hear, hear!

  44. 44
    PeakVT says:

    @forked tongue: You’re not going to get real far trying to convince people not to find sports to be good entertainment. But there is still the issue of whether institutions of higher education should be providing sporting entertainment, and whether the fiction of the student-athlete should be continued in the big revenue sports. There have been many instances of programs engaging in unethical behavior to preserve the student-athlete fiction over the years. It will take a couple of years to see if the pressure to win caused the PSU football program to cover up a lot of small academic-related failings in addition to the major crime, or if the cover-up of Sandusky was a one-off thing in a otherwise clean program. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there has been a pattern of cover-ups at PSU.

  45. 45
    birthmarker says:

    1. Youth
    2. Mob mentality with alcohol mixed in
    3. Moderate weather (check Weather Underground)

    Could happen at any of our schools. Let’s be realistic. People stood on the side of the road and cheered OJ.

  46. 46

    the board of trustees wanted that scene the other night, they wanted the students to carry on like fools. they could have met and decided, and the decision could have been rendered at 7am.

    they wanted that scene, which did nothing but make them look bad, and cement perception.

    this is a penn st thing.

  47. 47
    soonergrunt says:

    @Poopyman: Thanks! You too!

  48. 48
    mistermix says:

    @Raven: How many is few enough that we should ignore that they rioted in favor of retaining a coach complicit in covering up child rape? Is a couple thousand small enough to ignore?

    Jesus, the excuse making in these PSU threads is disgusting.

  49. 49
    RSA says:

    @Walker:

    I gave a talk there last year and drove (since it is only 5 hours, and flying there would take even longer).

    I’ve worked with colleagues at Penn State (in their relatively new College of Information Sciences and Technology) and traveled up there by plane. It’s great that they have an airport, but those puddle-jumper planes… It takes me a couple of hours afterwards to recover.

    @Tyro:

    “Undistinguished” is a fair assessment—“45th in the nation” or “in the top 1/3rd of state universities” is what we think of when we are thinking of an undistinguished middle-of-the-road academic school.

    I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. There are maybe 2,400 four-year degree-granting colleges in the U.S., but fewer than 100 in the category that used to be called Research I (now RU/VH), and Penn State is in the top half of the latter. Maybe it’s like the difference between saying some pro football player is undistinguished as a pro football player versus as an athlete.

  50. 50
    Socrates_Johnson says:

    If their ranking in US News is worth anything (feel free to quibble with that, because it’s certainly not the end all be all of college evaluations) it’s in the top 14% of public schools in the country, 16* of out 118 schools ranked, and top 16% of schools overall, 45 out 280 schools listed. That’s more like the top 1/7th or one 1/6th.

    From my experience there, I was surprised to find so many out of state students there, because coming from out of state you are basically paying private school costs. It never seemed like a place that would really be on par with a good private school, but it seemed many people felt otherwise. Also, my uncle, who has no connection to Pennsylvania what so ever aside from me and my immediate family (he now lives in California) had a very positive opinion of the school when I talked to him about it, mentioning the many people from Penn State that had worked with.

    *To try and give the benefit of the doubt, I assumed that they were the least of the schools tied for 13.

  51. 51
    Raven says:

    @mistermix: I’m not making any excuses. Don’t be a jackass, you were wrong about the academic standing of the school. There are morons everywhere, even in OWS.

  52. 52
    efgoldman says:

    @PeakVT:

    It will take a couple of years to see if the pressure to win caused the PSU football program to cover up a lot of small academic-related failings in addition to the major crime, or if the cover-up of Sandusky was a one-off thing in a otherwise clean program. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there has been a pattern of cover-ups at PSU.

    Apples and snow tires.
    NCAA violations are (usually) not crimes, are not investigated or prosecuted by public authorities, and do no damage to outsiders.
    What happened at PSU were apparently multiple vile, prosecutable crimes against defenseless individuals, then covered up by the institution.
    The analogies to the Catholic church are apt.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    One thing that is indicative of the mindset at work in this situation is that all morning I’ve been trying, and failing, to think of a way of making a living in which criminal violence on the part of the person has so little effect on their career… as it does in sports.

    Wife and girlfriend beating, dog torture, drug using and dealing and their subsequent disputes and bad judgement, even shooting yourself with a gun you brought into a nightclub, and many, many more are in the backgrounds of so many athletes and broadcasters with long and glowing careers.

    If Dominique Strauss Kahn had been a gifted quarterback, the whole thing would have been a mere blip, wouldn’t it?

  54. 54
    gene108 says:

    Being a Penn State alum gives you something to talk about in interviews

    Yes like: You went to Penn State! So did I! Your brother went to Penn State! Mine’s going there now!

    It is a huge university, with alums all over Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey.

    It has a good academic reputation and a huge network of alumni to support recent graduates. I believe that’s what folks would talk about at interviews, rather than some mundane drinking stories that can happen anywhere.

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    Here’s your explanation mistermix…

    State College appears to be an incestuous, self-referential, little cocoon, that based its identity on a personality cult surrounding a football coach.

    We are (boom, boom) PENN STATE!

    Whocouldaknowd that such an arrangement might blow up in everyone’s faces.

  56. 56
    Joel says:

    I’m glad you crossed out academically distinguished. Especially in light of what the linked article states:

    I worked with Penn State faculty of staggering intelligence, experience, and expertise. My advisor and Ph.D. committee members helped me acquire my own firm foundation in the history of ancient and medieval Europe and Japan. I collaborated with experts from a variety of disciplines on a curriculum-development program supported by an NEH grant, and I helped organize, and even presented at, the university’s international medieval conference. I’m not going to name-drop, but I’m immensely proud of the people of international and enduring stature with whom I studied.

  57. 57
    mistermix says:

    @Raven: Your attempt at excuse making:

    And how many people were “rioting”? I blows up a lot of shit if it’s pointed out how few people are really doing any of this shit.

    So, setting aside your attempt to make Penn State’s academic reputation a red herring, how few is few enough to make it worth ignoring? Because the crowd estimate was at least a couple of thousand.

  58. 58
    Cacti says:

    @WereBear:

    If Dominique Strauss Kahn had been a gifted quarterback, the whole thing would have been a mere blip, wouldn’t it?

    The whole thing was a blip.

    DSK walked.

  59. 59
    Dave says:

    might have said they were doing it in support of their beloved JoePa, but it wasn’t really about that. It was about the value of what they’re at Penn State for

    In other words, students are assholes, and they were taught very well by adults, notably college administrators, to be assholes.

    That they rioted in the service of child rape to maintain their right to be assholes is just a coincidence.

    That about cover it?

  60. 60
    Raven says:

    @mistermix: So don’t ignore it.

  61. 61
    WoodyNYC says:

    In an otherwise fairly obvious article in the NYRB, I saw this:

    In many universities, finally, the sideshows have taken over the big tent. Competitive sports consume vast amounts of energy and money, some of which could be used to improve conditions for students. It’s hard not to be miserable when watching what pursuit of football glory has done to Rutgers, which has many excellent departments and should be—given the wealth of New Jersey—an East Coast Berkeley or Michigan. The university spends $26.9 million a year subsidizing its athletic programs. Meanwhile faculty salaries have been capped and raises canceled across the board. Desk telephones were recently removed from the offices of the historians. Repairs have been postponed, and classroom buildings, in constant use from early morning until late at night, have become shabbier and shabbier.

    In a lot of ways, college football is the scandal.

  62. 62
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Rome Again:

    The dioceses in which abuse was committed or in which abuse allegations were settled out of court found it necessary to make financial settlements with the victims totaling over $1.5 billion as of March 2006.[29] The number and size of these settlements made it necessary for the dioceses to reduce their ordinary operating expenses by closing churches and schools. In many instances, dioceses were forced to declare bankruptcy as a result of the settlements.

    Also

    “The media always talk of class actions, compensation for the victims of abuse by the clergy and the legal fees which, since 2001 have forced the American dioceses to sell schools, hospitals, convents and universities. But in fact the biggest economic damage is done by the collapse in donations.

  63. 63
    mistermix says:

    @Joel: I crossed it out because it’s a side issue, debate over which was secondary to my main point, which is that a lot of people go to PSU for the football/drinking experience. Nobody’s going to mistake PSU for Harvard, or even U Texas or Berkeley, to name two really distinguished state universities.

  64. 64
    cleek says:

    college kids don’t need much of an excuse to act like over-excited chimps. i know i never did. for me and my friends, just finding ourselves with an extra $8 was as good an excuse as any to buy a case of beer (yes, $8: Golden Anniversary!) and then run around raising hell.

    these kids probably have only a passing knowledge of the facts. they just heard some “shit’s fucked up and bullshit!” noise in the dorm halls and went out a-smashing.

  65. 65
    Cacti says:

    I believe Living Colour described Penn State’s current problem in song.

  66. 66
    efgoldman says:

    @mistermix:

    So, setting aside your attempt to make Penn State’s academic reputation a red herring….

    Really, seriously, is it at all relevant?
    Kids allegedly were raped, on school property, by a school employee. The school then actively or passively covered it up.
    It doesn’t matter whether it was at Harvard or EastWestNorthern Community Junior College.
    Period, end of story.

  67. 67
    Joel says:

    @birthmarker: 4) White 5) Not having the temerity to stand up against some societal injustice, for which overwhelming police force is clearly the appropriate response.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gene108: I’m pretty sure Penn State is the _only_ school in the Northeast that fulfills that function, too. I’m from New Jersey, and Rutgers doesn’t have the same cachet in the area.

    But, honestly, this “distinguished”/”undistinguished” dividing line is a fuzzy one. Of the big public universities, my snap judgments would be that the most “distinguished” are Michigan, Virginia, UC-Berkeley, and North Carolina. Then maybe Texas, Rutgers, and Illinois. I think I’d put Penn State in the next tier, with Ohio State, Indiana, UCLA, Iowa, Minnesota, and Washington.

    Maybe I have a skewed view from being in the Northeast. But I think Penn State is better-regarded than the OP and some commenters have made it sound. And it’s _far_ above other big-time sports schools, IMHO.

  69. 69
    geg6 says:

    @RSA:

    Yeah, not exactly undistinguished IMHO. But then we all can’t be Matt Yglesius.

    FWIW, I’ve only got an MEd from here, so I’m not too tied up in the image. But the bashing of academics and all the people who attend, attended, or work here is sickening. I could not care less about the football team and my campus is 3 1/2 hours from where all this happened. None of us appreciate being demonized as people or having our academic credentials belittled because of things that have nothing to do with them.

    But everyone wants to get their PSU hate on, so I guess I’ll have to live with that. For myself, this is the best employer and employment experience I’ve ever had in my 39-year work life and none of this changes that.

  70. 70
    Raven says:

    @mistermix: Yea, you know what you are talking about. Name another school that has their own fucking sports network? No drinking or football worship in Austin.

  71. 71
    Raven says:

    The Game has also become known for the large, joint Harvard-Yale tailgate parties that run throughout The Game in the fields next to the host stadium every year. The tailgate party was even televised by ESPN in 2004. While most alumni who travel to The Game actually watch it in the stadium, most students and recent alumni treat the tailgate as their primary destination. The tailgate attracts thousands of students and has recently roused the concern of the Boston Police Department, who have cracked down on underage drinking at the student tailgates, as well as moving it further away from the stadium and reducing the space available.[5] This included requiring, in 2008, that all tailgates end at halftime, leading Yale students to shift most of their tailgating to the Princeton game, held the previous week in New Haven.
    [edit]

  72. 72
    Big Momm says:

    To all the people complaining about Mistermix’s academically undistinguished comment – okay, we’re talking about a school that admits 15,000 freshmen ever year. Yeah, a few hundred of them will go into the distinguished engineering programs, but the vast majority will get not as distinguished liberal arts degrees. Trust me, Penn State is not where motivated high school seniors go.

  73. 73
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @mistermix:

    a lot of people go to PSU for the football/drinking experience

    There’s something to that, but less than you’d think. I don’t want to disparage anyone’s school, but, given that you mentioned Texas, there’s no way Texas doesn’t benefit from its perception as a hub for big-time sports.

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    BTW, my blogosphere hero, Michael Berube, is a professor at Penn State. (IIRC he’s actually the “Paterno Family Professor” of English.)

  75. 75
    geg6 says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    What the fuck are you talking about? Of a lot of very stupid and uninformed comments in this thread, this is probably the stupidest and most uninformed.

  76. 76
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Big Momm: I don’t think that’s fair at all. Penn State is not a sports factory. I could name schools that were, IMHO, and I’d be naming a lot before PSU would come up.

  77. 77
    Raven says:

    @geg6: It was pretty stupid to announce it at 10pm.

  78. 78
    Raven says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Oh..”trust her”.

  79. 79
    Joel says:

    @Big Momm: I did not take offense. I went to an undistinguished undergraduate program although others might disagree. The point is that the comment was snide and kind of dumb (and I say this as someone who is typically a fan of mistermix posts).

  80. 80
    geg6 says:

    @Raven:

    Again, I am not at UP, so I can’t say I have firsthand knowledge. However…

    They announced it when they finished their deliberations. They couldn’t even get the whole board together until early that evening. It was an emergency meeting and getting everyone there takes some time. Most of the board members are not residents of State College, PA. In fact, very few of them are. It takes me over 3 hours to drive there when I have to get to a meeting there.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Raven: It did seem kind of odd to me, but I heard many times from my mom–for the 20 years that elapsed between my applying to colleges and my youngest sibling’s graduation–that many B+/A- students from New Jersey high schools go to Penn State… because the sports teams are better than Rutgers’ are. That reinforces both the idea of sports culture _and_ the pull of sports to strong academic students. And IMHO PSU supplies both.

  82. 82
    Big Momm says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And I could name a dozen more academically distinguished schools in Pennsylvania alone, which don’t have the benefit of having their name plastered on TV every day in college football season.

  83. 83
    Adolphus says:

    @efgoldman:

    Sorry, no. There are plenty of small to medium sized colleges that have some level of drunken behavior by the students but don’t riot after losing/winning football games or regularly burn furniture. My undergraduate institution had no football team or other ranked sport, no greek system, and was small enough that everyone knew each other at least tangentially. That combination leads to better behavior all around. Was there still drunkenness? Absolutely. But compared to what I see at larger schools with the anonymity of huge numbers, an entrenched greek system, and large, expensive sports teams encourages the type of mob mentality we see at PSU and at other large colleges.

    I am a PhD student and half my class mates came to this school not because they had a good scholars and programs, but for the football team. And that’s GRADUATE students. The undergraduates believe even more strongly that winning sports teams with coaches and players worthy of idolatry is what they are paying for. It’s all part of their individual and community identity.

  84. 84
    geg6 says:

    @Big Momm:

    Really? And how many high school seniors from PA do you interact with every day?

    It’s not just engineering, but agriculture, biosciences, and business are quite distinguished. Top students from all over the state come here.

    I’m done with this. Apparently, everything and everyone at Penn State is a child molester or enabler of such and is completely mediocre according to people who know nothing of it and have never been to one of the campuses.

  85. 85
    Tyro says:

    But the bashing of academics and all the people who attend, attended, or work here is sickening

    Covering up child rape is “sickening.” Calling a school “undistinguished” when you think that descriptor is undeserved? I think I would use a different term to describe hearing such a thing. Maybe it’s sickening from the “No one should feel maligned about the reputation of their Alma matter because it might be damaging to their precious and sensitive feelings,” but in real life, no.

  86. 86
    slag says:

    I love these posts that amount to little more than, “But you don’t get it. Football is REEEEAAAALLLLY important to these people.”

    Yeah. We get it. That’s why it’s our “so-called” civilization. The fact that football is so incredibly important to these people is, indeed, the sad part.

  87. 87
    PeakVT says:

    @efgoldman: Obviously the magnitude is different, but if there is a habit of covering things up in the football program, it would require breaking the habit to expose Sandusky. I find it strange that McQueary reported the incident internally and not to the police. Maybe the reason was simply that people in all established organizations have a tendency to cover up, and not due to the internal culture of the football program.

  88. 88
    libarbarian says:

    Penn State students are subhuman animals.

    Fuck them all.

  89. 89
    Satanicpanic says:

    Well yeah, this is why the administration had to go out of its way to keep the child rapes secret. Students should be upset that they didn’t do a better job. /snark

  90. 90
    S. cerevisiae says:

    I have no connection to Penn State but they have a top notch climate science faculty headed by Michael Mann. Of course, to the wingnuts that is proof that they are part of the conspiracy.

    That being said I hope people there are going to jail over this.

  91. 91
    Raven says:

    @geg6: Yea, I’m sure it was some of that and there was pressure, rightly so, to get Paterno out as soon as possible. What would have been worse, delay the announcement until morning and most likely not have had the horrible behavior or do what they did?

  92. 92
    Raven says:

    @libarbarian: And everyone who ever set foot on the Virginia Tech campus is mass murderer and a dog killer.

  93. 93
    MCA says:

    @Poopyman:

    This gets to the heart of the difficulty of this whole thing. Whatever academic reputation Penn State has (in my mind: better than average state school, no UVa or Michigan or Cal, and like most of its Big Ten brethren a very good research university but not at all distinguished by the quality of education the average undergraduate leaves with), it got to that level of prestige, success and selectivity through increased undergratuate applications. And those increased undergraduate applications came almost exclusively as a result of the success of its football team. Talk about a Faustian bargain.

  94. 94
    rumpole says:

    It’s like paying extra to go to Disneyland instead of the local street carnival, and finding out that all the rides are closed that Mickey Mouse is paying Goofy to bring him “willing” 10-year old Mousketeers.

    Fixed.

  95. 95
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Big Momm: There are a dozen academically-distinguished schools in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean anything about the intelligence of the students who go to the University of Minnesota. You’re just being gratuitously insulting.

  96. 96
    curiousleo says:

    @forked tongue:

    that there are schools where football means this fucking much. There isn’t any chance that people all over will just stop giving a shit about sports now, is there?

    Pretending that this horrible scandal is unique to sports and that ending sports will prevent such things is, to be nice, quixotic.

    Many other organizations large and small (including large families) where abuse of this sort and cover ups or serious denial of the obvious have not ceased to exist. The RCC scandal is larger but that hasn’t led to the end of the RCC. The Boy Scouts still exist. The USA Swimming scandal (girls) hasn’t ended competitive swimming. Families & small town civic organizations have had abuse scandals. Abuse is a massive problem and people look the other way or simply don’t believe what they see/hear ALL THE TIME.

    Abuse scandals like this one at PSU are not rare. Given the prominence of PSU & PSU football, the media magnitude is rare.

  97. 97
    Raven says:

    @MCA: How do you know that?

  98. 98
    slag says:

    @S. cerevisiae:

    I have no connection to Penn State but they have a top notch climate science faculty headed by Michael Mann. Of course, to the wingnuts that is proof that they are part of the conspiracy.

    They also appear to be complete sell-outs to the natural gas industry: http://www.thisamericanlife.or.....me-changer .

  99. 99
    Joel says:

    @Tyro: Then join the rest of us in blaming the guilty, not the innocent.

  100. 100
    Raven says:

    @curiousleo: Last time I looked swimming was sport.

  101. 101
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Adolphus:

    The undergraduates believe even more strongly that winning sports teams with coaches and players worthy of idolatry is what they are paying for. It’s all part of their individual and community identity.

    I think there’s a lot of truth to that statement — but it doesn’t mean that the sports-hungry student body isn’t _also_ academically strong or the caliber of education they receive “distinguished.”

  102. 102
    efgoldman says:

    @cleek:

    …just finding ourselves with an extra $8 was as good an excuse as any to buy a case of beer (yes, $8: Golden Anniversary!)

    ‘Gansett. Three GIQs (giant imperial quarts = @ 40 oz.) for a buck.

  103. 103
    curiousleo says:

    @PeakVT:

    Maybe the reason was simply that people in all established organizations have a tendency to cover up, and not due to the internal culture of the football program.

    You’re onto something here. It isn’t like PSU is the first large organization to cover up abuse.

  104. 104
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @geg6:

    I’m done with this. Apparently, everything and everyone at Penn State is a child molester or enabler of such and is completely mediocre according to people who know nothing of it and have never been to one of the campuses.

    When a scandal this abhorrent reaches as high as it does, the fallout will be severe. That’s just human nature, and I think it will get worse before it gets better. It isn’t fair, but it won’t end any time soon.

  105. 105
    Joel says:

    @Gin & Tonic: All that response does, however, is encourage other complicit organizations to double-down on the defensiveness. It’s not useful, in other words.

  106. 106
    curiousleo says:

    @Raven: You’re right. I guess I was reading forked tongue’s post to mean sports which receive a lot of attention & money (ie football, cited in the post) and other top 3 sports. I should have used a different example in addition to the RCC & Boy Scouts (like the recent scandal in the Hasidic community) but I wanted to include an example where girls were the primary victims and their abuse has been covered up.

  107. 107
  108. 108

    Part of what they’re paying for is the experience in State College, and for almost 50 years, that experience depends on having a team to be proud of, and a school that others admire.

    And having a beloved coach cover for a pedophile sullies that, so why the fuck were they marching, rioting, whatever you want to call it? They should have been burning him in effigy, not overturning news trucks.

    And yeah, overturning a news van is not what I call a “march.” Saw worse behavior out of these kids than some G8 protesters.

    Feh.

    You want an explanation? Here’s one. In January 2010 students at the University of Tennessee Knoxville rioted when their football coach suddenly announced he was leaving for USC.

    I don’t think there’s anything to this stuff. I think it’s a group-think type of situation. You get a bunch of kids acting out and everyone flocks to be part of the spectacle and half of them don’t even know or care why they’re there.

  109. 109
    Joel says:

    @curiousleo: You could also add the ongoing epidemic of rape among inmates (actually a problem frequently brought up by Andrew Sullivan). The victims don’t garner much sympathy from most corners, and in fact are largely joked about, but they deserve protection all the same.

  110. 110
    libarbarian says:

    @Raven:

    I didn’t see them rioting in defense of the killer.

    I did see your little brood of diseased rats rioting because they didn’t think it was fair that the rape of a few children would hurt their football program.

    Go back to NAMBLA & Friends aka. Penn State

  111. 111
    Socrates_Johnson says:

    Penn State’s admission rate is 54.6%. Here are the admission rates of a few other comparable schools.

    Michigan – 50.6%
    Georgia Tech – 51.7%
    UC-Irvine – 45.2%
    UC-Santa Barbara – 45.5%
    Ohio State – 68%
    Illinios – 67.1%
    Texas (Austin) – 47.0%

    Is it the most selective school in the world? No. UC-Berkley and William and Mary are both MUCH more selective than any of the schools on this list, with admission rates closer to 25 or 30 percent, but the 15,000 number needs some sort of context.

    Also, very few schools on the top rankings for public universities don’t have a prominent Division 1A football team. The ones that don’t are either California system schools or, in William and Mary’s case, have a prominent team in a lower division. That could either be an example of how a good athletics program can elevate a university or an example of how students are prioritizing a good football team over other things. I’m not sure.

    Anyway, this is a distraction. I’m sorry for continuing to press it, but I do feel obliged to defend the school’s academic reputation.

    Just to get away from it, the real story in this particular instance is the shameful actions of the students there. I hold out some small degree of hope that in time they will be as ashamed of their actions as I am. Honestly if they can’t demonstrate that, I think the university is going to have to live without football at all for a while so they can get their priorities straight.

  112. 112
    scav says:

    This all may have moved a bit beyond white people problems well into faculty seminar problems and dare I bring up the dreaded suggestion of measurement issues? Too late. Anyway, it all seems a lot of energy devoted to a former PSU-ite’s post hoc remotely-inferred rationalizations of what happened. My guess is there’s a whole lot of rationalization going on: there usually is. Even for little stuff (why is it I came in this room again?). For a bunch of doofus students? Please. For that matter, why am I bothering to come into this thread and post? Can’t quite remember, something along the lines of it may be more profitable to read deep meaning into tea leaves than students out acting like daft undergraduates. There’s something about this topic that seems to hit a lot of people’s personally involved button — relatively small differences of opinion are bringing out the swords and pistols at dawn reaction.

  113. 113
    Big Momm says:

    @geg6: not saying they’re all child molesters, just that everyone I know who has ever gone to PSU went strictly because of its reputation as a party school. Then again, I’m not a butthurt alum of Pedo State.

  114. 114
    ericblair says:

    @curiousleo:

    Abuse scandals like this one at PSU are not rare. Given the prominence of PSU & PSU football, the media magnitude is rare.

    I think there are fundamental, maybe fatal structural problems with the Frankenstein institutions that we call universities have become. You’ve got a number of sport schools which are essentially for-profit entertainment organizations with educational institutions attached as contractual requirements. You’ve also got a number of Ivy League schools which are hedge funds with educational institutions attached as tax dodges.

    It doesn’t mean these attached educational institutions are low quality at all, but the power relationships between what are supposed to be the core missions of the school and what are supposed to be auxiliary activities are so fucked up that the actual “school” part of the school can get easily manipulated and dragged down when conflicts happen.

  115. 115
    curiousleo says:

    @Raven: One of the things that’s bothered me in the coverage and various online discussions of this particular scandal & cover up is the fact that so few people are acknowledging or talking about how disturbingly not unique the abuse-cover up situation here is. And the corollary of how to prevent such things within our own circles.

    Righteous anger at the PSU cover up folks is fine and all but I’m worried (and believe) that said righteous anger allows too many people to pretend abuse of this sort happens “some where else” Each of us knows someone that has been abused. But, b/c of the massive silence/shame/fear around said abuse most of us do not know that someone we know has been abused.

  116. 116
    libarbarian says:

    “I’m done with this. Apparently, everything and everyone at Penn State is a child molester or enabler of such and is completely mediocre according to people who know nothing of it and have never been to one of the campuses.

    Cut the victim routine.

    The Penn State student body rioted in defense of a child-rape enabler.

    Thats a simple fact. Live with it.

  117. 117
    Keith says:

    @superking: Precisely.

    Jessica’s apologia is a classic case of trying to reframe the discussion by changing the subject. Or, put another way, Jessica is engaging in a craftily worded denial.

    Yes, it was a riot.

    Yes, it was a riot in support of a coach who did not act fully when faced with the news that child rape, committed by a Professor Emeritus, was happening in his fortress of solitude.

    Yes, it was a riot – No, it wasn’t a riot in support of Happy Valley’s version of OWS -The Student Debt Edition.

  118. 118
    gene108 says:

    From what I can tell, Penn State is one of those colleges marketed as an experience.

    EVERY COLLEGE IN ITS RIGHT MIND MARKETS ITSELF AS AN “EXPERIENCE”

    Has to be the dumbest thing written in a long time. Every university in this country wants to sell itself, so you feel connected to it after you graduate. When you strike it rich, you’ll feel so connected and grateful they gave you the skills to be rich you’ll cough up a few million back to the school.

    Even if you don’t strike it rich, you’ll still feel a connection to the university and you’ll tithe a bit of your money to the school to help out the current crop of kids in college.

    It’s not a bad thing to feel a part of something bigger than yourself, even if that is just a university, where you learned some advanced skills to get a better job as an adult.

  119. 119
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @libarbarian:

    All human beings are subhuman animals.

    Fuck them all.

    Yes, I found your comment very useful.

  120. 120
    curiousleo says:

    @libarbarian:

    The Penn State student body rioted in defense of a child-rape enabler.

    Only a (small %) portion of the student body. Not the entire student body. Tarring and feathering every person associated with PSU b/c of the wrong actions of a minority % does not help nor is it right.

  121. 121
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ericblair:

    It doesn’t mean these attached educational institutions are low quality at all, but the power relationships between what are supposed to be the core missions of the school and what are supposed to be auxiliary activities are so fucked up that the actual “school” part of the school can get easily manipulated and dragged down when conflicts happen.

    This.

    Mission creep. Or, why are we fighting these alligators? Oh, we’re here to drain the swamp…

  122. 122
    Joel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: @curiousleo: This is trolling. I’d leave it alone.

  123. 123
    geg6 says:

    @Big Momm:

    Go fuck yourself. You admit you know nothing at all about it. If you want to call the administration names, I’m fine with that. They deserve it. But you are painting with a mighty large brush with the stupid shit you’re saying here.

    @libarbarian:

    No, only one campus’s student body did that and not even a majority of them. Hell, not even a plurality. Fully one half of the student body attends other campuses.

    But yeah, they are all child molesters and enablers themselves because of it.

  124. 124
    scav says:

    @Big Momm:

    everyone I know who has ever gone to PSU went strictly because of its reputation as a party school.

    May say more about your friends than anything else. Party on.

  125. 125
    Cat Lady says:

    @ericblair:

    I think this PSU situation is a real object lesson in how a sports program that is too big to fail works, and how much power a successful coach has over the rest of the institution. The board of trustees couldn’t make JoePa retire a few years ago. WTF? That all the administrators and coaches have to go down with JoePa should make all the other college administrators responsible for supervising big time sports programs nervous today, but I’m cynical enough to believe that they’re all thinking their coverups won’t be exposed.

  126. 126
    slag says:

    @curiousleo:

    One of the things that’s bothered me in the coverage and various online discussions of this particular scandal & cover up is the fact that so few people are acknowledging or talking about how disturbingly not unique the abuse-cover up situation here is. And the corollary of how to prevent such things within our own circles.

    I’m not sure there’s a big mystery here. You prevent it by prioritizing the welfare of people over the welfare of institutions.

    It’s not that sports are unique in their reliance on and expression of tribalism. It’s that they are extreme in their reliance on and expression of tribalism.

  127. 127
    curiousleo says:

    @Joel: Hold up. Are you suggesting that I’m trolling? That is far, far from the case.

    If you’re suggesting that the poster to whom I replied is trolling and that I should walk away, then thanks for the friendly suggestions.

  128. 128
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @curiousleo:

    Pretending that this horrible scandal is unique to sports and that ending sports will prevent such things is, to be nice, quixotic.

    Of course it isn’t unique to sports. But certainly an activity where, at the highest levels, winning is valued above all else; where coaches who win national championships are treated like demi-gods; where athletic departments becomes fiefdoms who play by a different set of rules than the rest of the university — aggregious abuse of power and cover-ups become a feature, not a bug.

  129. 129
    bin Lurkin' says:

    @scav: Man is not a rational animal, man is an animal that rationalizes.

  130. 130
    Joel says:

    @curiousleo: No. You were both responding to a troll. I’m sorry if that’s not clear.

  131. 131
    scav says:

    @Cat Lady: I thought it was especially funny when both JoePa and Berlusconi were on the front page of the NYT, simultaneously dictating when it was they’d be leaving. Hubris overload.

  132. 132
    geg6 says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    But certainly an activity where, at the highest levels, winning is valued above all else; where coaches who win national championships are treated like demi-gods; where athletic departments becomes fiefdoms who play by a different set of rules than the rest of the university—aggregious abuse of power and cover-ups are almost built into the culture.

    I would agree fully with this. This is exactly how and why this happened.

  133. 133
    curiousleo says:

    @Joel: gotcha.

  134. 134
    Punchy says:

    Lots of testy Penn St. grads on this thread…

  135. 135
    harlana says:

    @curiousleo:

    You’re onto something here. It isn’t like PSU is the first large organization to cover up abuse.

    This is the real problem, I agree. Personally, (and I’m not a sports person, not anti-sports, just not interested) I don’t believe it has anything to do with sports (sports-enthusiasts, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), but more relevant to deep, psychological dysfunction paired with failure of leadership (which points directly to Paterno) within certain hierarchical organizations, which is more common than we’d like to be believe. It can and does destroy lives. This awful story is a case in point.

    And it’s starting to sound like we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg so far.

  136. 136
    Roy G. says:

    The larger point is this: The Establishment -at many schools- condones this general party atmosphere, in the name of brand glorification, though they do tend to get a little bent once property destruction begins. Even still, teh kids largely get a free pass.

    Otoh, if the students are engaging in protest and mindful civil disobedience, then the cops come out in riot gear and batons – even at ‘liberal’ Berkeley:

    UC cops’ use of batons on Occupy camp questioned

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....1LTC4D.DTL

  137. 137
    Big Momm says:

    @geg6: are you seriously contending the fact that the vast majority of people who attend PSU were mediocre students in high school? Really??? You know, there are stats and such, right? Their own website says their middle 50% of incoming freshman score 1750-1990 on the SATs (out of 2400). Not bad, but let’s just say not CMU or UPenn or Pitt standards, and those are all good engineering schools, what PSU is best at.

  138. 138
    curiousleo says:

    @geg6:

    I would agree fully with this. This is exactly how and why this happened.

    Yes, that’s why it happened at PSU. But that is not how and why very similar things happened in other settings. Child abuse is frighteningly and sickeningly common. Each of us needs to work even harder at preventing all of our organizations & families & selves from looking the other way or denying that the trusted friend/family member is an abuser.

  139. 139
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @geg6:

    Alas, that’s the sad truth of it. It’s happening right now at my Alma Mater, the University of Oregon, where winning in football trumps any other thing going on.

    Quite aside from the uniforms that make your eyes hurt, we’ve got football players pushing the limits of how much privilege they’ve got all the time. Like driving a rented vehicle at twice the speed limit with a suspended licence. Mind you, this is the stuff we know about…

  140. 140
    Cat Lady says:

    @scav:

    It’s been a bad year for tone deaf dictators.

  141. 141
    Poopyman says:

    @scav:

    There’s something about this topic that seems to hit a lot of people’s personally involved button — relatively small differences of opinion are bringing out the swords and pistols at dawn reaction.

    Forget it, scav. It’s Balloon Juice.

    @libarbarian: Pretty lame trolling technique, bud.

  142. 142
    curiousleo says:

    @harlana:

    This is the real problem, I agree. Personally, (and I’m not a sports person, not anti-sports, just not interested) I don’t believe it has anything to do with sports (sports-enthusiasts, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), but more relevant to deep, psychological dysfunction paired with failure of leadership within certain hierarchical organizations, which is more common than we’d like to be believe. It can and does destroy lives. This awful story is a case in point

    QFT.

    Thanks for also trying to look at the larger (and scarier) picture. It’s easy to say “burn PSU to the ground” and pretend that such an action will prevent child abuse from happening again. But that’s self-delusion on a grand scale.

  143. 143
    scav says:

    @Poopyman: well, dials suddenly moved to 12+ for unexpected people. Usual mayhem I’ve grown relatively inured to, if not fond of.

    ETA: But there are Drone Club days with biscuits and Thunderdome Cage Matches I guess.

  144. 144
    gene108 says:

    @WoodyNYC:

    Rutgers, which has many excellent departments and should be—given the wealth of New Jersey—an East Coast Berkeley or Michigan.

    I lived in Ann Arbor for seven years. Football is a religion there and Bo Schembechler was the High Priest/Demi-God of that religion.

    The Cal Golden Bears, i.e. Cal-Berkley, tries to field competitive football and men’s basketball teams. They don’t always break through, but they haven’t resigned themselves to being perennial doormats. You don’t recruit guys like Aaron Rodgers, if you didn’t care about football.

    Most big-time, GOOD, public universities have a big time athletics department.

  145. 145
    RSA says:

    @mistermix:

    I’m not trying to excuse the behavior, just find an explanation.

    Actually, I thought it was a good post overall, which I should have said in addition to nitpicking.

  146. 146
    NCSteve says:

    I come from Kentucky. No other state comes close to Kentucky’s statewide obsession with UK basketball because in every other state with a college sports fetish, loyalties are divided between, say, the University of Arglebargle and Arglebargle State with, maybe, Expensive Private U. thrown into the mix. And, indeed, that obsession is in my DNA to this day.

    I went to UNC during the reign of Dean Smith. I witnessed the truly banal riot on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill the night the drinking age went from 18 to 21. And, for sheer exemplary awfulness of a place where the university was just a pesky adjunct of the athletic department, Clemson is just down the road.

    And despite that experience with the inability of people to put sports into proper perspective, and, indeed, the basic expectation of idiotic behavior I’ve developed about people in general and undergrads in particular over the years, I was thoroughly demoralized by this riot and by the massed heartfelt expressions of love and support for a man who enabled a decade of child abuse.

    I read the grand jury report (which is apparently more than any of these idiots apparently did) and one thing that’s quite clear is that Paterno and the Penn athletic department were, whether knowingly or through willful blindness, complicit in a decade long coverup of child molestation that enabled Sandusky’s continuing victimization of children. And it’s likewise perfectly clear that they did it because, in their worldview, the reputation of their goddamned football program vastly outweighed the damage done to the kids Sandusky molested in the years after a shaken GA reported to Paterno that he’d seen Sandusky anally raping a ten year old in the shower of Paterno’s locker room.

    And it’s likewise clear that the drunken undergrads who rioted the night before last agreed with Paterno on that. All the ridiculous rationalizations they spewed, all the illogical arguments they made, all the narrow assignments of blame facts that they garbled into a story that they could tell about what happened without vomiting aren’t exculpatory, they’re self-indicting. So is all the “kids will be kids” excuse making.

    If one of them was my son or daughter, I would feel like a total failure as a parent and a human being. And I’d tell them that there was no more tuition being paid unless they transferred to one of the handful of schools that doesn’t give athletic scholarships where, maybe, they might learn a tiny something about what’s actually important in life.

  147. 147
    Socrates_Johnson says:

    I also think the student reaction has a lot more to do with Paterno specifically than the football program in general, though it’s difficult to completely separate the two. Their reasoning (what little of it they’ve done) starts with the idea that JoePa is a good man, so obviously he must have done everything he could to have prevented this. They’re wrong. Pretty clearly he didn’t. I’m just not certain that with a different man at the helm, one who hasn’t had the same historical impact on the school’s academics as well as the football program, the reaction would have been the same.

    Take a different coach without that history and ask yourself if the reaction would have been the same. Would Alabama students riot if this had happened under Nick Saban’s watch? I doubt it, but then again I’m in the same denial (though to a lesser extent) as lot of these students.

  148. 148
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Guys like Sandusky are not stupid. They have a very finely tuned animal cunning.

    They have their appetites, they need to feed them, and they seek out situations where they can stalk their prey in relative safety. I believe they do this without consciously thinking about it.

    Obviously, in Sandusky’s case, he felt perfectly at ease in taking prey in a locker room at PSU. He did not feel a need to insure privacy…he felt he had licence to do what he was doing, and that the dangers of being caught and punished were not that great.

    Mind you, this was AFTER he was removed as Paterno’s heir apparent.

    He was caught quite literally red handed, in the act, and even that was not enough to bring the vast apparatus of the state down on him for his actions. He had allies in the institution who, in order to protect the reputation of the institution, were willing to let him skate on his deeds.

    People like Sandusky seek out places like the PSU football program where they can both stalk their prey and do so in relative security, protected by the institutional forces that seek to preserve the institution rather than deal aggressively with predators like Sandusky.

    Such places need to be aware that they are viewed as havens for the likes of Sandusky, and take appropriate steps to make themselves less attractive to them.

  149. 149
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I guess I’ve never really gotten the appeal of team sports, both as a player and as a spectator. I’ve never given a shit about football or college sports, and would probably join the chorus of those who say it dominates college life too much.

    That said, I’d never tar an entire institution of tens of thousands of people with a wide brush, unless, you know, there was actual evidence that the majority of people there share the sentiments of the rioters. Even living on the West Coast I’ve always considered Penn State to be a pretty decent school academically.

    To me, the main culprit is the corrupting influence of college athletics in general, especially on isolated campuses in the middle of bumfuck. This only reinforces my hatred/apathy for college sports, and doesn’t really give me any negative views of PSU as an academic institution, insofar as I’m sure there are vast chunks of the State College campus who are innocent and are as pissed off as the rest of us are.

  150. 150
    blondie says:

    It must be an unthinking, rabble-rousing tribalism, extending the rah-rahs of the stadium into the streets in support of the sports “heroes.”

    Otherwise, how could anyone in their right mind come out in support of people who are alleged to have protected a child rapist? Is there any crime more obviously bad? Maybe child killer?

    Then you hear that the grad. ass’t who witnessed the action and took some (minimal) action to try to deal with it is not attending this week’s game because he has received many threats?

    Some people’s priorities are messed up.

  151. 151
    geg6 says:

    @Big Momm:

    You don’t see many SAT scores, do you?

    Those are pretty damn good and not middling at all.

    The average SAT at Pitt is 1469. And I say this as a Pitt grad.

  152. 152
    curiousleo says:

    @blondie:

    Then you hear that the grad. ass’t who witnessed the action and took some (minimal) action to try to deal with it is not attending this week’s game because he has received many threats?

    I wonder whether McQueary is getting more threats from Paterno/PSU supporters or from people outraged on what little we know about his action/inaction from the grand jury report. Sadly, I’m guessing it’s at least 50/50.

    @NCSteve:

    And I’d tell them that there was no more tuition being paid unless they transferred to one of the handful of schools that doesn’t give athletic scholarships

    There are many more than a handful of schools that don’t give out athletic scholarships — an entire NCAA division (DIII), even.

  153. 153
    libarbarian says:

    @geg6

    But yeah, they are all child molesters and enablers themselves because of it.

    Oh cut the shit you dumbass.

    I never said they were all molestors.

    They ARE rats who think their football team is more important than raped children. That is what makes them animals and unworthy of human status.

    Fuck them and fuck the whiny Penn State alumni pussies who want to play the victim card.

  154. 154
    geg6 says:

    @geg6:

    Oh, wait. That’s the average SAT score for their Honors College.

    Damn, I was in that Honors College. Hopefully, it was a better average score back then. I know mine was.

  155. 155
    MCA says:

    @Raven:

    This is the conventional wisdom out in the world, as far as I know. The hagiography of Paterno prior to now has always included the sidebar of “look how the Ivy League, poetry-reciting coach who was headed to law school before detouring to Happy Valley gave millions to the school, hobnobbed with intellectuals and wealthy East Coast elites outside the sports world, and by using his fame helped turn PSU from an intellectual backwater into a highly-regarded research institution.” So I think it’s pretty well established the school’s reputation and bone fides have significantly increased in the last half century, and that it likely wouldn’t have to nearly the degree it did without the football program. Which makes this downfall infinitely more interesting than if it had happened at LSU.

    There are also plenty of studies out there showing how applications rise when a football/basketball team wins championships at a school with any academic reputation. I’d find one and link, but this is such a sidebar I don’t want to take the time. Apologies for my laziness.

  156. 156
    libarbarian says:

    That said, I’d never tar an entire institution of tens of thousands of people with a wide brush, unless, you know, there was actual evidence that the majority of people there share the sentiments of the rioters

    Nobody is tarring them with the actions of Jery Sandusky.

    They tarred themselves with their own actions – Throwing a temper tantrum like a bunch of spoiled fucking brats who think their little fucking football team is more important than the rape of children.

    The whole “don’t call us all molesters” thing is just a pathetic red herring to distract from the real issue – that these subhuman fucks think their right to live vicariously through the achievements of other people is more important than the rape of children.

  157. 157
    geg6 says:

    @libarbarian:

    So the 88-87,000 Penn State students who didn’t riot (university police estimate the crowd at 2-3,000) are rats who think the football team is more important than raped children and are animals and unworthy of human status? Even if they attend one of the 23 other campuses?

    Yeah, you’re a reasonable person with whom to discuss this. Perhaps you should talk to Big Momm. Each of you two are about as rational as the other.

  158. 158
    28 Percent says:

    All I can say is, right now Leo Blankfein has got to be thinking “sure, I snagged enough of the $5T in investor losses and taxpayer bailouts to be able to afford to wipe my ass with Hermes scarves, but thank God I didn’t fire Joe Paterno.”

  159. 159
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @geg6:

    Wait, to be precise aren’t we just talking about the main University Park campus? That’s like half that 88000 number. Do the other 40000 or so students in the Penn State system at other campuses have a lot emotionally invested in the Nittany Lions football program?

  160. 160
    Big Momm says:

    @geg6: lol how is there any honor to a 1469 out of 2400???
    I say this as someone who got a perfect score on the SAT. ;)

  161. 161
    batgirl says:

    @Big Momm:

    And I could name a dozen more academically distinguished schools in Pennsylvania alone,

    At what cost? Those are all private schools right?

    The academic snobbery of some in this thread is amazing. Penn State is a top tier research university where any kid who wants to can get a fine education.

  162. 162
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @harlana:

    I don’t believe it has anything to do with sports (sports-enthusiasts, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), but more relevant to deep, psychological dysfunction

    Which the god-hero/acolyte relationship between sports teams and fans actively encourages. Sure, you could call elevating a coach to sainthood and living and dying with your sports team’s results pathological dysfunction. It’s also called being a diehard fan.

    In this culture, not only is that type of pathology given a pass, fandom is celebrated on the public airwaves. Pre-game shows, the games themselves, post-game shows, talk radio. Nearly as many people watch the Super Bowl as vote in the presidential election. So when the inevitable scandal breaks, you have a legion of people who so closely identify with athletic exploits, they defend their heros as they would themselves.

  163. 163
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Big Momm: Um, 1469 is the average SAT score at Pitt. In the Honors College. And you just wrote that Pitt is the superior institution.

    There are a lot of things you can say about Penn State, good and bad, but the idea that Pitt surpasses them in terms of general quality of education is just flat out false.

  164. 164
    Poopyman says:

    @Big Momm: Sayyyyy, you don’t happen to have a daughter that hangs out on this blog, do you? About 13? Says she’s Muslim? You two sound awefully similar.

  165. 165
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Poopyman: LOL

  166. 166
    Walker says:

    Part of the reason Penn State gets such a shortshrift is because it gets compared to UPenn (which is not a state school, but sounds like it should be). Even in areas like CS, UPenn is a much stronger school.

    Also, there is a bit of an unfortunate connotation among state universities where “University of Y” implies flagship and “X State” implies second tier.

  167. 167
    batgirl says:

    @libarbarian:

    The Penn State student body rioted in defense of a child-rape enabler.

    The Penn State student body at UP is 45,000 students. That didn’t look like anything near 45,000 students rioting, but then again I didn’t get a perfect SAT score so what do I know.

  168. 168
    scav says:

    Christ, I think it might be loko. Certainly the zero Kelvin score on humility, plausibility and the sarah palin winky bit seem to indicate it.

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Poopyman:

    That also occurred to me. Especially when we got to the LOL and smiley face. There are some tics she just can’t hide.

    I’m mostly just following along here because I got my undergraduate degree from USC, a school that could fairly be called a sports factory, though we also have a fine law school, medical school, dental school, film school, etc. So I can’t really get on my high horse about someone else’s school using their athletic department to finance and promote their academic programs.

    ETA: Though at least USC has had enough NCAA problems through the years that no one is under any illusion that the athletic department is filled with paragons of virtue, which seems to be part of the disconnect for people with Penn State.

  170. 170
    fasteddie9318 says:

    It seems to me obviously to be loko. On a related front, I finally got cleek’s pie filter working again, and there was much rejoicing.

  171. 171
    Big Momm says:

    whoa I think it’s sad that I’ve lurked long enough on this blog to know who those trolls are and I can tell you I’m not them. I’m just a member of the silent minority of Americans who worked hard in high school, went to a good private school, and has to hear morons from back home talk about their days at PSU as if it was something I should be envious of. Those guys are mostly working crappy service jobs.

  172. 172
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Socrates_Johnson:

    Take a different coach without that history and ask yourself if the reaction would have been the same. Would Alabama students riot if this had happened under Nick Saban’s watch? I doubt it, but then again I’m in the same denial (though to a lesser extent) as lot of these students.

    I doubt it as well. Joe Paterno was at Penn State in a coaching capacity since the Truman administration. And he’s actually a member of the community. He wasn’t a hired gun who takes off for LA or Miami as soon as the season is over.

    But you don’t have to be at an institution as long as Paterno to get the royal treatment. You just have to be there long enough (and win enough) to reach icon status. If the same scandal occurred with the Duke basketball program, the Cameron Crazies would come together like Voltron to defend Coach K.

  173. 173
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @fasteddie9318: It sure seems like she’s trying to sound “grown up” with the a nym, but all the obstinate arrogance of the original. I really need to install cleek’s pie machine, but alas, a work meeting awaits.

  174. 174
    PNW Warrior Woman says:

    Penn State has never been considered a “public ivy” and never will be. Michigan would be a better suggestion for that title. You don’t go to Penn State for engineering, for heaven’s sake. You go to Purdue, Georgia Tech, Cal Tech, MIT, UT-Austin. Cole is correct it’s an academically undistinguished expensive state college in a dull little town with, once a good football team and a solid drinking tradition. Graduates will be associated with the term “Perv State” for at least a decade.

  175. 175
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Big Momm: Really, truly, as someone who also worked his hump off in high school and was fortunate enough to attend a top-tier private university, take that elitist bullshit and kindly fuck the fuck off.

  176. 176
    RSA says:

    @Walker:

    Also, there is a bit of an unfortunate connotation among state universities where “University of Y” implies flagship and “X State” implies second tier.

    I’m in one of those states, at one of those second-tier schools (except with respect to engineering). In CS, though, I can only think of a handful of states where that relationship doesn’t hold. Ohio and New Jersey?

  177. 177
    Socrates_Johnson says:

    @PNW Warrior Woman:

    http://www.ivy-league-online.c.....y-schools/

    I don’t mean to imply that it is as good a school as Michigan. It’s not. The US News Rankings seem to imply that it is comparable to UT, but as I said before, these rankings are certainly not the final word in quality institutions. The school may not have received the distinction until it was watered down, unlike UM and UT which were included in the initial list, but it carries it none-the-less.

    I know. I went back there. The quality of Penn State’s academics, at least in an overall sense, should not be questioned though, and doing so only distracts from a bigger and more valid point. It’s not elite. It’s not Michigan. It is, however, pretty damn good.

  178. 178
    Suffern ACE says:

    @batgirl: Yeah. Also, watching the interviews on the ol TV the night of the riot/march/demonstration/party tended to give one the impression that the entire student body was going nuts because the people that were being interviewed were the people who were in the riot. (at least ESPN found a student who wasn’t participating who thought the other students were nuts. But I’m guessing that those students were in short supply in the 20 yards or so around the demonstration).

  179. 179
    mistermix says:

    @NCSteve:

    No other state comes close to Kentucky’s statewide obsession with UK basketball because in every other state with a college sports fetish, loyalties are divided between, say, the University of Arglebargle and Arglebargle State with, maybe, Expensive Private U. thrown into the mix.

    I’m sure you’re right, but come to Wyoming sometime to see the same thing.

  180. 180
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    People like Sandusky seek out places like the PSU football program where they can both stalk their prey and do so in relative security, protected by the institutional forces that seek to preserve the institution rather than deal aggressively with predators like Sandusky.

    This really doesn’t seem correct at all. This whole story is depressing, especially since there were any number of missed opportunities to stop this guy. And it will be interesting to see if the university, or any officials, are sued for civil or criminal liability issues.

    But Sandusky appears to have used a charitable foundation for at risk kids to get access to his victims. And it may be that he used his connections to the university, and stuff like the kids’ desire to see football games or to be treated to special events as an enticement. And then he used his access to the facilities as one place to commit criminal acts.

    But this is not the same thing at all as using the PSU football program to “stalk prey.” I had to stop reading the stories after a while, but I got the impression that Sandusky’s foundation continued even after his formal association with Penn State ended. The problem, civil, criminal, and ethical, is that college officials allowed him to keep victimizing children even after they tried to distance themselves from him.

  181. 181
    Socrates_Johnson says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    I was a bit too focused on football specifically I guess. Coach K is a great example of someone with comparable sway in the university’s community. I’d bet that he has also done some good things for Duke’s academics as well, though they certainly wouldn’t need him to do so. I think that hypothetical situation speaks to my point about the riots being about the man more than the program. Of course it was the football or basketball program that elevated each of those men to that near-deity status, but the students reaction comes because they simply refuse to believe that a man they respected so much could allow this to happen.

  182. 182
    birthmarker says:

    Would Alabama students riot if this had happened under Nick Saban’s watch?

    Honestly, I think it could happen at Bama, and at most schools. If Saban were suddenly fired at an emergency trustee meeting for something that some could say he had plausible deniability for, sure. A couple of thousand out of a large student body can cause some havoc. And I doubt if many students had read the grand jury report at that time.

  183. 183
    Auguste says:

    @PNW Warrior Woman:

    Penn State was a “worthy runner-up” in the original Public Ivy book and is considered a Public Ivy by “Greene’s Guide” – obviously, parsing who is and isn’t a Public Ivy is somewhat artificial but your definitive statement is a bit off.

  184. 184
    Brandon says:

    @Steve:

    Of course it wasn’t a riot. Those were mostly white kids.

    Exactly.

    I’m not trying to excuse the behavior, just find an explanation.

    How about this: PSU has enrolled and for too long catered to a large cadre of moronic drunken thugs. PSU has allowed their campus and by extension the entire town to be taken over by a large cadre of moronic drunken thugs. So much so that a grad student can say with a straight face something to the effect of, “what’s the big deal, they riot all the time and anyway, it’s okay because it is just a natural reaction to losing ones identity”.

    It’s funny to me that mistermix is willing to blame the parents of the victims (except that he knows that there were ‘troubled’ and thinks that by definition they didn’t have strong parental influence) but he needs to look high and low for reasons why these moronic drunken thugs did what they did when the answer is staring him right in the face.

  185. 185
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    Meanwhile, some moronic ex-members of the tribe fully understand who the real victim is in this atrocity. God, I hate my species.

  186. 186
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Arising like a phoenix from the ashes of Penn State’s football program, we have a former PSU player who has just nominated himself for the prestigious “Complete Fucking Tool of the Year” award.

    Brad Benson, a former Penn State offensive lineman who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants, was not invited to attend the game. He said he wouldn’t go anyway — and had no problem with his fellow former Nittany Lions presenting a unified front — as long as they remembered the true victims of this case.

    “There are people right now that are supporting Joe. They are rioting and doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “I equate these students that are rioting to the occupiers on New York City right now. They’re not mature enough to understand why they’re rioting. They weren’t there when this happened. What are they protesting? They’re protesting that someone with a tremendous responsibility failed to fulfill his moral responsibility and other people failed as well.”

    So peacefully protesting economic injustice = whatever those PSU students were doing the other night. Gotcha.

  187. 187
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    I’m finding the academic snobbery on this thread amusing, particularly from mistermix. I wonder what august institution he graduated from? For that matter, what does mistermix do in the way of a career?

    I’d love for John Cole to weigh in on this one, particularly since mistermix’s description of Penn State would probably describe WVU too. WVU, where John Cole got his degrees and also teaches.

    DougJ, anonymous as he is, teaches somewhere in the Rochester area. I wonder how great whatever school he teaches at is?

    As far as I know, only Tom Levenson, of all contributors to the front page, teaches at a top tier university.

  188. 188
    Suffern ACE says:

    @birthmarker: No. And what exactly did the AG say in her press conference. Something about how the coach’s testimony was consistent with that of McQueary’s testimony and he was not under investigation. One might think if the AG said that, that perhaps JoePA was being given the shaft a little. Especially since McQueary’s negliegence seems so much worse. I know, I know, I don’t want to start the Legal vs. Moral argument that we’ve had for a week now…but why are people surprised when students take up the “He didn’t do anything illegal so he shouldn’t be fired. Especially not with a phone call! After he donated money for our library!” position?

  189. 189
    kay says:

    @Brachiator:

    But this is not the same thing at all as using the PSU football program to “stalk prey.” I had to stop reading the stories after a while, but I got the impression that Sandusky’s foundation continued even after his formal association with Penn State ended.

    I agree with that, but it’s broader. Sandusky and his wife had developed a reputation over 25 years as people who helped disadvantaged children. They took foster kids. They adopted kids. They gave interviews on it. They used the proceeds from his first book to start Second Mile.

    Did he use his position and fame at Penn State in the course of getting and keeping credibility for his “charitable” activities? Yeah, it looks like it. But Penn State wasn’t part of the Sandusky family scam as “children’s advocates”. That was a different piece.

    Newspapers are looking at the foster/adopt piece now. I figured that was coming.

    The earliest documented report of possible abuse at the hands of Sandusky is in 1995, when his now-legally adopted son was still a teenage foster child in his home. The adoption file for Matt Sandusky, who had a different name at the time, contains letters of concern from his mother to children and youth officials and to a Centre County judge. Matt’s biological mother, Debra Long, testified before the grand jury. Matt, 33, is not one of the victims in the grand jury presentment, but he did testify before the grand jury. Matt went to live with the Sandusky family after he was caught setting fire to a barn in 1995.

    Children and Youth Services placed him with the Sandusky family at Jerry Sandusky’s request. He knew Matt through The Second Mile. In his book, “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story” several pages are devoted to Matt. “He became an instant challenge for me,” Sandusky writes. Debra Long was allowed to visit her son only one-half day per month after he went to live with the Sanduskys. About four months after he went to live with Jerry, Matt attempted suicide with a girl who was also staying at Sandusky’s house. “The probation department has some serious concerns about the juvenile’s safety and his current progress in placement with the Sandusky family,” wrote Terry L. Trude, a school-based probation officer, days after the suicide attempt. The letter, addressed to Centre County Judge David Grine, also said Long was concerned about Matt’s safety and mental condition, and asked that Matt go to a different foster family.

  190. 190
    Poopyman says:

    @birthmarker: A more accurate question, perhaps, is would it have happened at Alabama if they had fired The Bear in his final few years?

  191. 191
    Walker says:

    @RSA:

    In CS, though, I can only think of a handful of states where that relationship doesn’t hold. Ohio and New Jersey?

    That is probably accurate. But I bring it up because CS is often in engineering subdivisions (it is at my institution), and engineering is what the X States are supposed to be good at. I think this causes some confusion about the quality of the school; even though the rest of the engineering school is very good, a high profile program like CS or Info Sci is notably weaker than other schools in the state system.

  192. 192
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    @Big Momm:

    Well, aren’t you special!

  193. 193
    JMC says:

    Penn State is, traditionally, an ag school. There are (or at least used to be) pastures and barns near the football stadium. They make in their labs some of the best ice cream in the world, which is available at the Penn State Creamery on campus. Neither here nor there, but definitely worth seeking out if you are ever in the Happy Valley. Try the cinnamon rolls at The Diner, too.

  194. 194
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @The Spy Who Loved Me:

    I’m finding the academic snobbery on this thread amusing

    Especially given that many of the blog’s regulars also clamor for threads devoted to… college football.

  195. 195
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Not me. I, for one, prefer my felons football players felons to be professionals.

  196. 196
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kay:

    I still can’t believe the dark comedy in Sandusky titling his autobiography Touched. Jesus fucking Christ. Every person I tell that to breaks out into hysterical laughter once I convince them I’m not joking.

  197. 197
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Poopyman:

    If this would have happened in the Bear’s final years, the attorney general’s office probably would have been complicit in the cover-up.

  198. 198
    BobS says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Just start ticking off the names of SEC schools (with apologies to Vanderbilt).

  199. 199
    curiousleo says:

    @kay: Yep. Which is why there are those of us who would not be at all surprised if [speculation warning] we eventually learn that McQueary had been abused by Sandusky, too.

  200. 200
    birthmarker says:

    @Poopyman: Ummm, I’d have to say probably…

    Here’s a quote from a random anonymous person which turned up on a Bama sports blog (no link given where I saw it.)

    “As for Joe, I’m not sure what I think in regards to all of this Jerk Wrist reaction. He’s probably the least culpable of all the administration and deserves some credit for all he’s done for Penn St for 40 years in keeping their noses clean athletically speaking anyway. But strictly from a football standpoint Penn St amazingly is the only undefeated team left in Big 10 play and are helping Bama’s SOS. If this hurts their ability to win out it also hurts Bama’s chanches of getting to New Orleans Nov. 9th.”

    So there ya go. Priorities straight.

  201. 201
    Brachiator says:

    @kay:

    I agree with that, but it’s broader. Sandusky and his wife had developed a reputation over 25 years as people who helped disadvantaged children. They took foster kids. They adopted kids. They gave interviews on it. They used the proceeds from his first book to start Second Mile.

    This is getting sadder and sadder. Now, I wonder what his wife knew or suspected (and I am not automatically making her complicit).

    One of the priests in the Catholic child abuse scandals worked with at risk kids. And note here that I am not engaging in idle Catholic bashing here. The predators who choose these kids as victims are often skillful. They appear to offer kindness, and sometimes even use guilt, claiming that they are the only one who loves or cares about the kid, and threatening to withhold affection or gifts or goodies. And they may also tell the kid that no one would believe them if they told authorities, because, after all, the head of a charitable foundation must be a good person, a pillar of the community, while the at risk child is a nobody.

    Again, the tragedy, and the crime, may be that the college officials could have helped but a stop to this. But Sandusky himself may be a piece of work as a predator. The reporting indicates that he did everything he could to make sure that he had a supply of children to victimize.

  202. 202
    Suffern ACE says:

    @curiousleo: Would explain why he’s in the grand jury statement as an un-named graduate assistant when the other adult witnesses in the statement were named.

  203. 203
    Poopyman says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: Yeah well, let’s hang on and see whether this spreads to the Centre County AG’s office. Nothing’s impossible.

  204. 204
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator:

    Sandusky’s cred for his youth programs was built upon a foundation of PSU football.

    He parlayed that career into a means of attending to his appetites. Furthermore, even after the first hints of his activities becoming known were there, he continued to rely on that base.

    Nothing was done at PSU to take away that foundation. They turned a blind eye to it.

    They’ve got to be on the lookout for that sort of thing. They became such a haven that even after he was ousted as Joe Pa’s successor, he still was using their facilities for his actions. With impunity, and little fear of any consequences.

  205. 205
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think that if you put those two pieces together, it makes more sense, though. He’s powerful, and everyone is protecting the school or the program or whatever, but there’s also this 25 year history to overcome, where everyone believes he’s absolutely committed to childrens well-being. And why wouldn’t they think that? It’s the center of his whole (private-apart from Penn State) persona and family life. He and his wife gave interviews to Sports Illustrated on it. It was what they were.

    Revered and powerful famous person + person who has worked very hard to create an individual reputation as someone who rescues children.

    His occupation (the source of his fame) wouldn’t matter. He just needs fame + power + (good) reputation. People would be geared towards not seeing things, because they’d start with reputation: “he’s the disadvantaged kid guy”.

  206. 206
    Raven says:

    @libarbarian: Read well don’t you?

  207. 207
    geg6 says:

    @The Spy Who Loved Me:

    If Big Momm got a 2400 on her SATs, I’m finding it hard to believe she’s a mom. Schools just started using the new writing section a few years ago in admissions decisions.

    I’m going with the idea that Big Momm is kokoloko. The smug intellectual superiority along with the inability to get the facts right sounds just like her.

    Hey koko! Guess what? When you finally graduate from whatever college for the socially awkward and spelling deficient that you attend, not a single potential employer gives a shit what your SAT score was. They care about how well they think you will do as an employee. Sadly, unlike most PSU grads (http://online.wsj.com/article/.....72718.html), you will not be deemed employable if your behavior and demeanor here is any indication.

  208. 208
    slag says:

    @kay: This is totally wrong of me, and I haven’t yet figured out how to conquer, but I have to confess something:

    Whenever I hear about people adopting/fostering a lot of kids, I’m immediately suspicious. Not because they’re giving of themselves to a cause they believe in–I know a lot of people who do that. But there’s something in the culture to which a lot of foster/adoptive families seem to subscribe that makes me wince. I wish I could put my finger on it. It’s the same feeling I tend to get about the Boy Scouts and religious organizations.

  209. 209
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @slag:

    It’s the same feeling I tend to get about the Boy Scouts and religious organizations.

    The thing is, 90% of the time, there’s nothing to worry about.

    It is, like everything else, the 10% that is the problem, and eternal vigilance is needed. The 10% takes up 90% of your time.

    This applies to everything, the “Free Market” in particular. Which is always the problem. All those regulations get in the way of the 90%, but they are there because of the 10% who will, if allowed to go unchecked, fuck it up for EVERYONE.

  210. 210

    @geg6:

    the truth hurts.

    burn that shit to the ground, the whole institution is corrupt.

  211. 211
    Gex says:

    Well, it’s certainly well under 27% of the students behaving badly. To put this in perspective. Way, way below the crazification factor and far to small to tar the student body as a whole.

  212. 212
    birthmarker says:

    @slag: Actually here there is a large boy’s ranch type charity run by a former state football star. There’s never been implications of impropriety there, but it does make me wonder how many other states have these youth charities associated somehow with their football programs.

  213. 213
    birthmarker says:

    @birthmarker: By “associated” I mean used as a fundraising conduit.

  214. 214
    kay says:

    @Brachiator:

    I would actually tread carefully with the foster/adopt angle, in terms of the natural mother’s letters. It is not at all uncommon for natural parents who lose their children to really resent foster parents. It’s almost the norm. It’s a huge shame issue to lose your children. The natural parents can see it as the court chose a “better” parent (because, you know, they DID) and that societal rejection wound runs deep. “Bad mother” with an official court seal is HUGE.
    I would give much more weight to the juvenile probation officer’s recommend and the suicide attempt.

  215. 215
    SectarianSofa says:

    The fact that the many academic bright spots (including graduate programs) at Penn State are almost unknown outside of the state (a generalization from me, but it looks that way from a reading of comments everywhere over the past few days), I’m guessing is a byproduct of the football brand.

    I’m used to this kind of thing, having spent some time at UT-Austin, where people think that the fact that the marching band and cheerleaders at football games often wear weird “Western”/cowboy/girl outfits (et al.) means that the school is full of wild-west cultural atavism. (Well, thanks to this, and the boneheaded Texas tourism adverts across the decades.)

    Whether it’s the UChicago fratboy jackasses, PennSt. Hooligans, or Texas fratboy-hooligans, this type of human isn’t limited by time or region. Just like bomb throwers at a 99% peaceful 99% rally, the ones we see in the media are usually the colorful and the stupid. And the “schools” we hear of in the media are usually, in fact, football programs. (Speaking with regard to the USA here, of course.)

  216. 216
    geg6 says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    Please provide evidence of that. I want to know exactly what the faculty or students or staff have done that make us corrupt. And what your reasoning is that the Board would have wanted rioting. Facts only, please.

    And, even accepting your stupid argument, they weren’t very successful in their nefarious plan since less than 6% of the student body at that campus actually followed it. And none at the other 23 campuses.

  217. 217
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SectarianSofa:

    the ones we see in the media are usually the colorful and the stupid.

    Dog bites man is not news. Man bites dog, on the other hand…

  218. 218
    RSA says:

    @Walker:

    But I bring it up because CS is often in engineering subdivisions (it is at my institution), and engineering is what the X States are supposed to be good at. I think this causes some confusion about the quality of the school; even though the rest of the engineering school is very good, a high profile program like CS or Info Sci is notably weaker than other schools in the state system.

    Ah, thanks. That makes sense.

  219. 219
    Samara Morgan says:

    awwww, does this mean its NOT the end of civilization as we know it?
    and those subhuman Tlolac worshipping students are not actually “rioting in favor of child rape complicity ” ?

    lawl

  220. 220
    Samara Morgan says:

    btw the Aztecs wore bird skin capes, not human skin ones.
    They ate selected parts of humans, because of protein deficiency.

  221. 221
    Gex says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I honestly believe that Sandusky took kids to the Penn State facilities is because HE KNEW the consequences of being caught weren’t going to be bad. Likely he knew that by the fact that they let him continue working there and with kids after the 1998 incident in which he “voluntarily” retired.

    In doing so, Paterno and others actually created an environment that was SAFE FOR HIM TO RAPE CHILDREN. I mean, he can’t take them home. The car doesn’t work all that great. But wait! How about I use these keys to the football facilities?

    After thinking about it for just a moment, I would never be out there “rioting” for Joe Pa. This is beyond overlooking and failing to report. They fucking facilitated the rapes.

  222. 222
    slag says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It is, like everything else, the 10% that is the problem, and eternal vigilance is needed. The 10% takes up 90% of your time.

    There’s something to this, but I generally hate profiling people. Especially people who may be doing really great work. I don’t like the thought of applying suspicion to those who are more deserving of respect.

  223. 223
    kay says:

    @slag:

    But there’s something in the culture to which a lot of foster/adoptive families seem to subscribe that makes me wince.

    I think I know what you’re saying :) I sympathize. I’m in foster homes all the time, and I have an approach I’m (more) comfortable with, so I would be aligned with you on that.

    I like the more practical, pragmatic foster parents. I like a sense of humor. I like a hobby or a job apart from caring for children, because that’s more like ordinary life.

    I’m not crazy about: “this is our life’s mission and you are the beneficiary of our incredible selflessness, waif “, because that feels over-involved for adults, if their whole persona is tied to child-rescue.

    I think that might tend to put a little too much pressure on the waif :)

  224. 224
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Sandusky’s cred for his youth programs was built upon a foundation of PSU football.

    This only says that he was a skilled manipulator. If not PSU, it might have been another venue or organization.

    Nothing was done at PSU to take away that foundation. They turned a blind eye to it.

    Or they thought they could contain it. I previously linked to a story about a child abuse scandal involving the Boy Scouts. Organizations often, wrongly, think that they can minimize a scandal “for the greater good.” And sometimes people do not know, or don’t want to know, the extent of outrageous acts committed, and take an offender at his or her word when promises are made to stop it.

    I am not excusing PSU’s culpability in not stopping Sandusky when they had a chance. But, based on what is currently known, I don’t think you can put the school at the center of anything.

    @kay:

    I would actually tread carefully with the foster/adopt angle, in terms of the natural mother’s letters.

    I wasn’t really commenting much on this angle (foster vs natural parents).

    In any event, it appears that there is much more to be uncovered about this tragedy. Opportunities were missed earlier to discover everything that should have been uncovered. Hopefully, everyone one will do a better job now that more of this ugly case is in the light.

  225. 225
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Poopyman:

    Frankly, PSU is a pretty good school for in-state kids who can’t afford a private college.

    Absolutely true, and this is true of many state schools. There are bright and brilliant kids and professors in every state, invisible to most, and happily disregarded by those who assume the world they see is not mediated by the shitty “national” information sources we have, that give us the mistaken illusion that we are more globally aware than we were during the Civil War, but provide instead only improved coverage of the bathroom habits of the rich and famous.

  226. 226
    Emma says:

    @kay: Oh my Lord Jesus. That is… I’m running out of words and I hate to resort to swearing. It was a runaway train loaded with dynamite and nobody seems to have desire or clout enough to stop it.

  227. 227
    scav says:

    Xipe Totec (“our lord the flayed one”) laughes at loko and her Marvin Harris poster. What’s up? Assange’s poster is going to be jealous soon.

  228. 228
    slag says:

    @Samara Morgan: No. It just means that you and mistermix aren’t grasping what is “so-called” about our civilization. Really. It’s not that hard.

  229. 229
    SectarianSofa says:

    I wish all these damned football programs would just burn to the ground. Leaving actual schools, colleges, and universities in place.

  230. 230
    Nutella says:

    @Brachiator:

    I wonder what his wife knew or suspected (and I am not automatically making her complicit).

    One shocking incident in the grand jury document: It says that Sandusky, his wife, and a family friend all left urgent phone messages to one of the victims shortly before he was scheduled to testify to the grand jury.

  231. 231
    kay says:

    @Emma:

    I would just be cautious on the foster/adopt stuff, because that can be read wrong, easily. Newspapers don’t read hundreds of case files, so they don’t know that a recommend from a juvenile PO might naturally follow a suicide attempt in any placement. The child himself disputed it, at the time, with a letter. He asked to remain in that home.

  232. 232
    smintheus says:

    @FlipYrWhig: UCLA, UMass, and Madison belong in your second tier.

  233. 233
    Gex says:

    Two days after the report was released, Paterno issued a statement saying he wanted to correct the impression left by the presentment.

    Even though Paterno himself had told the grand jury that McQueary saw “something of a sexual nature,” Paterno said this week that he had stopped the conversation before it got too graphic. Instead, he told McQueary he would need to speak with his superior, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and with Schultz.

    Is it better for Joe to be lying about what he heard? Or better to be telling us he stopped McQuery from reporting exactly what happened so he’d have plausible deniability?

    I can’t decide what he’s doing there.

  234. 234
    slag says:

    @kay:

    I’m not crazy about: “this is our life’s mission and you are the beneficiary of our incredible selflessness, waif “, because that feels over-involved for adults, if their whole persona is tied to child-rescue.

    Yes! I guess there aren’t a ton of other causes that engender that attitude. Or, if there are, they’re relatively harmless.

    So what if, say, Greenpeace members are out there tormenting whaling ships with their inflatable rafts? I may not choose to act on my convictions in the exact same manner, but I’ll still give a little cash to Greenpeace every now and again because they do a lot of other great stuff. In spite of the fact that some of their members may be a little…eccentric.

    But when you’re dealing with children, it may be that the stakes are high enough that certain levels of eccentricity are more concern-worthy. And that the eccentricity is itself a problem because of its effect on the children. (The whales aren’t directly affected by the wackiness of their protectors.) Or maybe I’m just rationalizing.

  235. 235
    kay says:

    @slag:

    (The whales aren’t directly affected by the wackiness of their protectors.)

    Well, that, and you don’t want the kids to become that idea, right? They’re themselves. They’re not the objective of a mission or the personification of someone else’s broader idea, no matter how admirable. That hardly seems fair, when all a person did was arrive with their backpack, through no fault or choice of their own :)

  236. 236
    SectarianSofa says:

    @smintheus:

    @FlipYrWhig: UCLA, UMass, and Madison belong in your second tier.

    This is still generally a crock of shit, IMO. Not your ranking, but these kinds of rankings in general. At a minimum, we should look at individual departments. It’s more important to look at programs and sub-specialties, and for grad students, even professors.
    I don’t have enough vim at the moment to actually go into others cons, or more importantly, alternatives. That washmonthly college ranking thing is pretty silly as well.

    Anecdotally, at a conference I went to at UMinn., the couple of students there from Rutgers immediately and vastly improved my opinion of the school (or at least some of its students and by extension, departments). My former dismissal of Rutgers is just another one of those things that makes me distrust these kinds of “gut feelings” one has about institutions.

  237. 237
    Joel says:

    @fasteddie9318: Leave it to a shitty auto dealer to say something like that.

  238. 238
    Emma says:

    @kay: You’re right, but it all seems to be drip — drip — drip, you know? The more one hears the more questions seem to surface.

  239. 239
    SectarianSofa says:

    More on topic(?), having spent months on a grand jury where many of the cases included child abuse and violence, where reports included way too much detail (and with this service possibly even being beside the point), I have to say I have next to no sympathy for any of the adults supposedly ‘in charge’ at Penn St.. And as others have said, I really hope other school take a close look at what is going on inside their athletic programs.

  240. 240
    NCSteve says:

    @mistermix: Well, I was talking about real states. You know, states with populations at least the size of a major city.

  241. 241
    SectarianSofa says:

    @NCSteve:
    Ouch.

  242. 242
    geg6 says:

    @SectarianSofa:

    Like you, I have no sympathy for any of these administrators who have been indicted or fired. None at all. And I agree with you that it should spur universities, not just PSU, to look at the corruption, of all kinds, that occur because the NCAA/NJCAA/USCAA have decided that college sports should be the farm teams for professional sports and that schools should profit from television contracts and sponsorships. At the very least, I wish that all the money that comes in from tv and sponsorships should be disallowed from paying coaches’ salaries and for gigantic sports facilities for only the marquee programs (all male, BTW). That money should go into scholarships, IMHO, that are administered by the financial aid offices and go only to students with financial need AND merit.

  243. 243
    slag says:

    @kay:

    Well, that, and you don’t want the kids to become that idea, right? They’re themselves. They’re not the objective of a mission or the personification of someone else’s broader idea, no matter how admirable. That hardly seems fair, when all a person did was arrive with their backpack, through no fault or choice of their own :)

    Exactly that. When you become someone’s objective, you’re dangerously close to becoming their object.

  244. 244
    Socrates_Johnson says:

    @SectarianSofa:

    As someone who’s frequently referred to those rankings here, I can more or less agree with your “crock of shit” statement. I was merely referencing them as a means of evaluating the school’s reputation. I tried to make that clear, but my qualifiers may have been too soft to get that point across.

    I don’t necessarily think they are completely useless either, just because many students going to college don’t know what they want to do yet, so it may be worthwhile to go to a place that’s pretty good at everything rather than particularly excellent in one specific field. In lieu of that, yes it would better for them to go about finding a college in the manner you described.

    I should also be clear that it’s entirely possible that these rankings are influenced by powerful people from institutions that often appear at or towards the top of them, like Penn State.

  245. 245
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    only the marquee programs (all male, BTW)

    Not that I disagree with your point, but several schools (including USC) have marquee women’s programs, particularly in basketball, and have for years.

    Of course, that doesn’t really solve the problem of, say, the USC Lady Trojans being an unacknowledged farm team for the WNBA.

  246. 246
    smintheus says:

    @SectarianSofa: Sure, there are a lot of mediocre or dysfunctional departments in all universities, even the elite ones. And there often are major differences in the kinds of education undergrads and grads will get in a given department. In my field, some of the most prestigious colleges and universities have extremely unimpressive departments. For ex., not long ago the ancient Greek history program at Harvard had become a bad joke.

    Still, it’s fair to say that some public universities are consistently more academically rigorous and with a better research profile than others. I’ve been associated with Cal, UCLA, and OSU, and there were noticeable differences mostly across the board among them.

  247. 247
    elftx says:

    Did anyone else watch the interview with the mother of Victim #1 ?
    During it she mentioned that Sandusky would take her child out of school and she was never aware of it.
    Absolutely blows me away !! Someone needs to go after the personnel at that god damn place as well. How the blankety blank blank was that ever ever sanctioned??
    So angry right now. Who the hell do these people think they are?

  248. 248
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Oh, I take your point. PSU has great women’s basketball team (or it did, at least) and I have the same problem with that. The women’s volleyball team is a perennial championship team, but they get next to nothing compared to the women’s basketball team. And neither have anything on ALL the men’s teams.

  249. 249
  250. 250
    Brachiator says:

    @Nutella:

    One shocking incident in the grand jury document: It says that Sandusky, his wife, and a family friend all left urgent phone messages to one of the victims shortly before he was scheduled to testify to the grand jury.

    The wife and the “family friend” definitely need to be investigated.

    I finally read the grand jury document, and it looks as though I was right that Sandusky used a combination of gifts, bribes and threats on his victims. It also looks as though he tried to carefully select those who would more passively submit to him, and who could be shamed into keeping quiet about what had happened.

    Here is where wife’s behavior is especially problematic. It appears as though she conveniently (compliantly) did not accompany her husband on trips that he took with the victims, trips which typically involved overnight hotel stays. Worse, he raped some of the children in a basement room that he set up for them. And yet the wife paid no attention to his absences while he satisfied himself?

    This is all very sad and very sickening.

  251. 251
    gene108 says:

    @geg6:

    And I agree with you that it should spur universities, not just PSU, to look at the corruption, of all kinds, that occur because the NCAA/NJCAA/USCAA have decided that college sports should be the farm teams for professional sports and that schools should profit from television contracts and sponsorships.

    You do realize the reason professional football and basketball became viable leagues is because of the popularity of those sports at the collegiate level?

    It ain’t the college’s fault they went big-time in basketball and football before there were pro-leagues.

    Is the recent bout of realignment and jostling for TV money ridiculous? Yes.

    There’s always been an above average amount of money flowing int college sports, since the early part of the 20th century and college athletics has flirted with the line between amateur, semi-pro and professional distinction of their athletes, since Jim Thorpe but right now a school’s need to raise money versus other schools is more akin to an arms race*, with no end in sigh

    * Thought I think “arms race” goes for pretty much everything relating to universities these days, which is why tuition has skyrocketed.

  252. 252
    birthmarker says:

    this is our life’s mission and you are the beneficiary of our incredible selflessness

    This apparent attitude is why I personally find Tebow annoying…

  253. 253
    smintheus says:

    Not to be missed…a gushing tribute to Sandusky from 1999 by Bill Lyon of the Inky.

    They started and nurtured The Second Mile, which began as a foster home and has grown to eight different programs that provide for more than 100,000 children who share this commonality – they are considered to be at risk, which is a chilling term that means their souls will drown if someone doesn’t throw them a lifeline.
    [snip]
    …the children of The Second Mile say that it has occurred to them to wonder to themselves: What would have happened to us if it hadn’t been for them?

  254. 254
    curiousleo says:

    @geg6: As you know, of course, discussion of the PSU women’s basketball team brings up a whole ‘nother set of troubling problems that were either supported by Paterno or just actively ignored in his support of Renee Portland.

    @Mnemosyne: There aren’t *that* many former USC players in the WNBA. Maybe 2? Stanford otoh… ;)

  255. 255

    @geg6:
    my god, you have no idea what it is you are defending, do you?

    my evidence is that sandusky was on campus, the week before the grand jury released the indictments.

    stop pretending no one knew. why did the board of trustees do their mini-psuedo presser on wednesday night? why not do it thursday morning? or wednesday morning, why didn’t they want the media to send a full contingent of real reporters, instead of the usual sports reporter patsies?

    i think you need to start asking and finding answers to some questions, before you get mad that anyone thinks your whole school is guilty, and everyone associated is worthless pile of shit.

    you don’t even know how deep it is, and you are trying to spin it. you don’t even know what you are defending. that makes YOU look guilty, opportunistic, and self-serving. get the crisis management public relations bullshit out of your head and pay attention to the world outside your bubble.

    you are less qualified to speak, not more, because of your attachment and dependence to the university, not more.

    how the fuck did that ever get twisted? not just in this, but in general.

  256. 256
    geg6 says:

    @curiousleo:

    Oh, yes. I surely know about that. Just one more manifestation of how much power the guy wielded. He really was a power unto himself. Personally, I’m glad he’s gone. I wish it hadn’t happened like this (not just for the University, but because of what it turns out he enabled), but I’m glad that boil has been lanced.

    My colleagues and friends who are Nittany Lions don’t like to hear this, but I had stated many, many times before this all broke that I thought that the power he had and the worship he received from them was bad for the university. Turns out I was right, but, damn, I wish I wasn’t.

  257. 257
    geg6 says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    You are a very sick individual and I think you need some help. I hope you get it.

  258. 258
    eemom says:

    @Joel:

    that’s a good article.

    Not to excuse anyone, or anything, but these are human beings we’re talking about. Maybe even Sandusky — sick, twisted monster that he is — really is, well, SICK. Pedophilia is a mental illness, as far as I know.

    I hope this doesn’t bring the wrath of the flame gods down on my head. Believe me, if it were my kid, I would tear him to pieces with my bare hands. I am just thinking abstractly for a moment.

    Does anyone remember the movie “Happiness”?

  259. 259

    @geg6:

    you have no right to judge you are defending an entire university that willfully turned a blind eye to child rape.

    stop spinning, if your degree and your university are worthless, so be it.

    you know how forseeable the penn st students reaction was, you know the trustees knew it too, they went ahead anyway. even after all that has come out thus far, they, and you don’t care about kids, or people, or anyone who gets in the way of your institution.

    that may or may not qualify you as mentally ill, but it ought to.

  260. 260
    eemom says:

    @geg6:

    bad for him too in the end, along the lines of what I was saying above.

    Again, no SYMPATHY — but the old man is probably going to be devastated for the rest of his days, which may well be shortened.

  261. 261
    burnspbesq says:

    @Tyro:

    “I could name a dozen state schools better than Penn State”

    I don’t think so.

    Cal
    UCLA
    UCI
    Michigan
    Texas
    UVa
    Carolina
    Rutgers.

    What else you got?

  262. 262
    eemom says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:

    God, all she’s saying is that the hundreds of thousands of people associated with the school are NOT ALL PERSONALLY TO BLAME. Get a fucking grip.

  263. 263
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joel:

    Man, that was sad, especially what Jon Ritchie said about Sandusky:

    Former Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles fullback Jon Ritchie, who did not go to Penn State but has known Sandusky since he was 14 years old and was first recruited to go there, said in an emotional ESPN segment on Friday morning that he thought Sandusky was “what I wanted to be when I was old enough to be that. When I first retired from professional football, my first thought was I should call Jerry and see if he’ll let me join The Second Mile.”

    “I can’t fathom sports right now,” Ritchie said. “I don’t even care about sports right now because this picture of what I thought was good has exploded. It was impossible for me to conceive that this took place. This has caused me to re-evaluate everything I think is real around me. My reality was Jerry Sandusky was Mother Theresa and I know all those kids — all those victims — felt the same way because that’s what he elicited in you.”

  264. 264
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    He thinks we are. He’s been chasing me around all day saying so. He’s mentally ill and I feel sorry for him.

  265. 265

    @eemom:

    but they could at least summon an ounce of decency amongst them, and stop spinning and defending this entire university power structure, when it is obvious to anyone smarter than a penn stater that there is something wrong way beyond, and way deeper than the allegations thus far.

    they are concerned about the image of their mcschool, and how it reflects on them, when perhaps, the image of the school was quite unjustly high to begin with.

    it seems tone deaf. absurdly so.

  266. 266

    @geg6:

    chasing you around?

    you mean by commenting in this thread and….

    and….

    how does that constitute chasing you around?

    ironic that you threw out the first allegations of mental illness.

    protip: western psych, located conveniently on pitt’s campus, they are probably more qualified to handle your problems than the current university you rely on.

  267. 267
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Socrates_Johnson:
    fair enough.

    @smintheus:

    Still, it’s fair to say that some public universities are consistently more academically rigorous and with a better research profile than others.

    I agree absolutely. (And made almost the same remark as your earlier one with regard to quality of departments within otherwise stellar schools.) That being said, I hate rankings as they exist now.

    For undergraduates, I think a large part of the experience comes from the quality of one’s peers, but I’m not sure how to rank that. Intellectual ability and academic skill sets are one part of this, other parts are cultural (etc., etc.).
    Due to being a complete wreck, I was fortunate enough to sample a few different schools as an undergraduate. My experience at the small private hippie school and the large private school with the nice libraries and no major sports teams, were both great consistently, with a few low points, and the experience with the giant and middle sized public universities were mediocre punctuated by some greatness.
    Anyway, so the terribly boring “great schools” (you know who you are) are the ones which will have consistently great peer groups. Good schools with great honors colleges (like Plan II at UTexas ) … well, not a big fan in my limited experience, as it seems obnoxiousness results from the friction of student types. But that’s just my own opinion (thrown together with a few others from friends with whom I’ve had these conversations) from small bits of experience.

  268. 268
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @SectarianSofa: You’re right, of course. When I was growing up in New Jersey I didn’t think Rutgers was anything special. When I was seeking academic jobs, on the other hand, it was obvious that its English department was one of the absolute best anywhere, and anyone, no matter what her or his credentials, would be DAMN lucky to be there. What we learn from the outside about overall reputation is (1) a crock, (2) totally abstract. But I was willing to go through the motions to show that, even looking at it in a dickish way, PSU would _still_ be plenty “distinguished.”

  269. 269
    Joel says:

    In other news, it’s worth noting that there’s precedence for this in the professional ranks as well. Donald Fitzpatrick, Yawkey family friend and Red Sox clubhouse manager for two decades, was also a Sandusky-like predator. I remember this story coming out about ten years ago, but I didn’t recall how pervasive it was. Even crazier was the Stockholm syndrome aspect of the story, with several of Fitzpatrick’s victims living with him into adulthood. Totally depraved and frightening; I wasn’t aware of any of this until reading this article today. I recall that around that time, John Harrington and the Yawkey Trust still controlled the team and the story died pretty quickly on the vine.

    Digging a little deeper, apparently Dennis Eckersley hired one of Fitzpatrick’s teenaged victims to buy weed for him. How fucked up is that?

  270. 270
    MB says:

    Just piling on: this so much bullshit. You should be ashamed.

  271. 271
    Jebediah says:

    @geg6:
    I dunno… even though we have a relatively small sample of Big Momm’s postings, to me they don’t scan like m_c’s.
    But I haven’t been here all that long, so I guess take my opinion with a grain of salt.

  272. 272
    Jebediah says:

    @eemom:

    Not to excuse anyone, or anything, but these are human beings we’re talking about. Maybe even Sandusky—sick, twisted monster that he is—really is, well, SICK. Pedophilia is a mental illness, as far as I know.

    As far as I know, you’re right about that, and I would add that, as sick and damaged as a pedophile must be, I would bet that many of them don’t actually think they are harming their victims – their appetites don’t spring from malice.
    Are there any clinicians etc. in here who could shed some light?
    Also, I don’t think Sandusky will go to prison. I have had a feeling for a day or three that he will commit suicide before that.

  273. 273
    Hugely says:

    um just for the record I went to PSU not because it was a party school or for football or any other stupid reason like that and none of my peers did either

    at PSU you make your own education due to its size (get out of it what you put in to it)

    kids rioting over JoePa are just stupid kids and are not indicative of the student body overall

    i’d love to be a fly on the wall in alumni executive committee meetings heh

  274. 274
    Yoüf says:

    Curiously absent from this discussion is (ex) President Spanier’s role. THIS is the man who likely (read: surely) made it clear that the cork was to be firmly inserted in this particular genie’s bottle. And there may be (undoubtedly are) others. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the report, one can be sure that very, very few parties had enough of the details to confidently go to the police — especially given that doing so would violate university reporting procedures; risking one’s job, if not career.

    McQuery, and the (now mentally disabled) janitor were the only ones to witness molestations. ONLY they could have gone directly to the police without conferral. They did not (sadly). We can ask why not all day long. My guess (based on dismaying first-hand experiences at Penn State) — fear of retaliation. Nobody but nobody’s good deeds go unpunished if they bring unwanted attention to the beloved Blue and White. Sounds crazy given molestation of children, but true. At a minimum, gossip spreads, “That’s the guy who started this mess!”, doors close which were once open, and people’s jobs often go away. Spanier, in the interests of controlling PSU’s image has fostered a culture of fear among faculty and staff. Scapegoating is the weapon of choice.

    I know of none who are saddened by Spanier’s departure.

    It will be interesting to learn who else will be acknowledged to have been aware of enough detail to have gone to authorities. Hard to imagine that the former Provost, now Interim President, Rodney Erickson was in the dark. If not, he too may be culpable. And what of university counsel? Does anyone else find it curious that Wendell Courtney also served as counsel for Second Mile? I mean — REALLY?!?!

    This thing is just warming up. In a longstanding culture of administrative duplicity, there has been so much swept under the rug that the people who have been brooming-away for years are now shitting (their once golden) bricks. Three hours into business day one after the news broke, I learned that “a number of faculty” had already contacted the Board of Trustee’s office asking how to raise other serious concerns. Looking aside the 27% seeking to grind axes, ya’ might have 73% delivering more head-lopping grist for the mill. .

  275. 275
    Cat Lady says:

    @Yoüf:

    The shared counsel thing just reeks to high heaven. Only the feds can be trusted to look at this now, and you’re right, this is only just the beginning, and I don’t mean just for Penn State.

  276. 276
    JR says:

    @mistermix: U Texas! You must be joking.

    U Texas is 90 yards further down the football black hole accretion disk than the next worst school. We all know what happens when you reach the bottom of the disk. Whatever academic success these is a U Texas aside, their football crazy is only the best!

    Further, the Catholic Church is a conspiracy to commit child abuse and rape, and very little else, all the way up. When you reach the top, you find an ex Hitler Youth monster who is doing his best to maintain power so as to continue as an institution capable of protecting child rapists.

    I think they should be put out of business with a RICO suit to confiscate everything but one robe and a pair of sandals for each person still supporting that absolutely morally bankrupt monstrosity. No exceptions.

    There will be a whole lot more show up in State College once the digging gets going. These monsters seem to aggregate into groups someway, how I don’t know. With a disappeared prosecutor who was looking into this a decade ago, with a shared counsel between PSU and the Second Mile child rape club, there is obviously a strange fruit vine growing out there in the country of PA, and it needs ripping out every root and sprout.

    I feel strongly about this after having served many years ago on a Grand Jury which was presented with a huge string of child abuse/rape crimes, some many with un-deniable photographic evidence. Most of us were only able to look at the first few photos before being sickened. The first few were plenty to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt – but all a grand jury needs to establish that a crime may have been committed and a trial is appropriate.

  277. 277
    vanya says:

    UMass, UNH, Vermont, Oregon, Washingto, and U of Wisconsin are all perceived as better than Penn State academically, at least in the consulting world. Penn State to me has always seemed very middle of the road. On a par with Indiana basically. Apparently Penn State has really improved over the past few decades, but I don’t think employers necessarily recognize that.

  278. 278
    vanya says:

    I would add too that the fact that football is so important at Penn State actually ends up devaluing the education, possibly unfairly, in the eyes of people who think college football is a corrupt farce. I feel the same way about USC or Alabama grads.

  279. 279
    sacman701 says:

    @NCSteve: Husker football in Nebraska is at least as much of a religion as UK basketball is in Kentucky. Everyone I’ve ever met from Nebraska is a Husker fan even if they otherwise don’t care about sports at all.

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