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Penn State Scandal

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The Jerry Sandusky case had a major impact on Penn State. It affected both academics and athletics in a major way. In this essay I will discuss the situation that occurred and the impact that the social media had on this once great school.

Jerry Sandusky is a retired American football coach. He was the assistant coach at Pennsylvania State University under the legendary Joe Paterno for 30 years. He was the defensive coordinator for the football team. He is also the founder of The Second Mile. The Second Mile is a non-profit organization that serves underprivileged youth. This is where Jerry Sandusky had met many of his victims. On November 5th, 2011, Jerry Sandusky was arrested and charged with 52 counts of sex crimes against young boys.

An investigation took place in 2008 by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office. The charges were initiated at Clinton County High School. At the school a student had made accusations of sexual abuse against Sandusky. The investigation had reached another level of importance when it was realized that the accusations were not a secluded set of events, but was a strategy formulated by Sandusky to lure young boys through his Second Mile organization. An indictment came after a three year investigation that looked into the accusations make against Sandusky having inappropriate exchanges with a young boy over the course of four years.

The grand jury had identified eight young boys that had experienced sexual advances or sexual favors by Sandusky from 1994-2009. There were at least 20 incidents that occurred while Sandusky was employed at Penn State. According to one of the indictments, Mike McQueary, who at the time was a Penn State grad student reported to Joe Paterno that he had seen Jerry Sandusky having intercourse with a ten year old boy. Joe Paterno then failed to report this incident to authorities. Joe Paterno, along with many of the Penn State University officials had tried to cover Jerry Sandusky’s acts which caused an out roar.

Some of the Penn State officials included Graham Spanier, Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz. Graham Spanier at the time was the president of Penn State University. He was forced to resign following the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Tim Curley was the athletic director for Penn State and Gary Schultz was the Vice President. After it was revealed that they failed to report the incident to authorities, both of these men were fired by the board.

The FBI had stated that after conducting an investigation that these senior officials had known about Sandusky’s actions as early as 1998 and had failed to disclose this information to authorities. On October 9, 2012, Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 60 years in prison. Spanier, Curley, and Schultz have been charged with grand jury perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and child endangerment in association with the scandal. Paterno and McQueary never had any charges pressed on them because they did what they were obligated to do. McQueary had reported the incident to his superior which is Joe Paterno. Joe Paterno also reported the incident to his superior who is Curley and Schultz. This whole situation caused a huge reaction nationwide.

The media had criticized the University for being so irresponsible. Many radio stations and newspapers harshly criticized the school for this scandal. Many people had criticized McQueary for not protecting the child that was being raped by Sandusky. The media criticized him for not protecting the child and reporting it to the police. Even though he had completed his legal obligation to report the incident to his superior, the media said that it was his moral obligation to report the incident to the police. The media not only criticized McQueary but also Joe Paterno.

The media criticized Joe Paterno from many different angles. The media and people were pushing for him to get fired. A Penn State alumnus had stated that she could not believe how cold hearted Joe Paterno could be. The media stated that the officials at the university cared more about the name of their school than the kids that were victims of Sandusky. They believe that because they did not report this to authorities, this empowered Sandusky to continue to do these cruel things to these young boys.

The University and the Second Mile had reacted to this scandal as well. Penn State has responded in numerous ways. Some of the ways they responded was by removing Sandusky’s image from a mural near the university. Another thing that they did was renaming an ice cream flavor which he had created in his honor. They also expelled both Paterno and Spanier and placed McQueary on indefinite paid administrative leave.

After the Freeh report was released many organizations wanted the statue of Joe Paterno to be removed. The statue was located outside the Beaver Stadium. There was a plane that had a banner reading take the statue down or we will. On July 22nd the statue of Joe Paterno was removed after receiving public criticism and threats. Another thing that hurt Penn State was the NCAA and Big Ten sanctions.

On July 23, 2012, Mark Emmert had announced the sanctions against Pennsylvania State University. It was announced that Penn State would be on probation for 5 years. They also announced that Penn State will have postseason ban for four years. They also went on to say that they will be vacating all wins from 1998-2011. This means that 112 wins would be removed from their record. This also removed 111 wins from Paterno’s record making him go down from the 1st to the 12th on the NCAA all time wins list.

Penn State also had to pay a $60 million fine. The proceeds would donation for preventing child abuse. The school was required to implement all sanctions for restructuring described in the Freeh report. Penn State must enter into an athletics integrity agreement with the NCAA and Big Ten. They were also appointed a university-wide athletic compliance officer and compliance council. They also had to accept an NCAA appointed athletic integrity monitor for the remainder of its probation.

When the NCAA announced its punishment, there was a great debate over the suspension of the football program. Many alumni and trustees criticized Erickson for accepting the terms that the NCAA had given. President Erickson had stated that they had no choice but to accept the terms that were given by the NCAA and the Big Ten. If they had not agreed to the terms that were given, the consequences would have been much deeper. The NCAA wanted to shut down the football program for 4 years. To avoid this President Erickson had sat down and worked out a compromise with the NCAA. A full release was granted to all players in the program. This allowed them to transfer to another school without losing eligibility.

It was also revealed that Penn State may have to compensate for Sandusky’s victims. No amount of money will ever be able to take the pain that Jerry Sandusky has inflicted on these young boys. Sandusky’s action has completely tarnished Penn State University good name. Not only has he ruined Penn States name but ruined the lives of the young boys. The young boys that were sexually abused will never be the same and forever be scared because of Sandusky.

The social media had a huge impact on Penn State’s academics. By revealing this news to the world and suspending the football team for four years has greatly impacted Penn State. The school now will lose several upcoming football players as well as students that were going to apply to this once prestigious school. Not only does it affect the athletic department faculty, but also the main faculty in the school. This incident also makes people want to make sure that their children who they send off to school are not being molested by the teachers as well.

Teachers in this school will have to be going under testing to make sure that this will not occur again. This scandal has impacted the school academically. Many students who had planned to attend Pennsylvania State University might now be looking at other colleges to attend to because of Sandusky. High school athletes that wanted to play football for Penn State must now look for other schools to play sports in since this school has suspended its games for four years. It’s amazing how the act of one man can cause such a huge impact.



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