Editorial: The power of athletic programs needs to be kept in check
In 2011, former Penn State University defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged with 51 counts of child sexual abuse. He was eventually sent to prison for 45 of those charges, namely using a position of power to attract and sexually molest children. Long-time head Penn State coach Joe Paterno was later fired from his position and an investigation showed Paterno likely knew about the charges beforehand and actively covered them up.
As MSU faces Penn State in the last game of the football season, an important lesson from this scandal needs to be remembered. Though football does bring a lot to universities in terms of money and prestige, the safety of those in the program and those affected by it needs to be placed far above any program's reputation. Paterno's legacy, though tarnished, is seeing an unfortunate recovery by Penn State fans who refuse to acknowledge their beloved coach made a disgraceful mistake out of nothing but malice.
Though the Penn State scandal five years ago is by no means the first time something like that took place, in a lot of ways it serves as the epitome of what happens when football gets more powerful than the universities they serve.
It's important to realize that football, however passionate many fans gets and regardless of how much money is at stake, is just a game. When coaches and school administrators forget this fact, scandals like the one that happened at Penn State are bound to happen.
Though MSU itself is not immune to these issues, with the recent scandal involving ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who on Tuesday was charged with three cases of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13, The State News Editorial Board calls on students and all those in the MSU community to keep sports officials off the highest pedestal so they can be held accountable for their actions and we can protect the innocent.
The State News Editorial Board is made up of the Editor-in-chief Jake Allen, Managing Editor Cameron Macko, Campus Editor Rachel Fradette, Sports Editor Casey Harrison, Features Editor Connor Clark, Copy Chief Casey Holland and Staff Representative Stephen Olschanski.
Diversity Representative Alexea Hankin did not sit in on this editorial.