That's how I feel about my university right now. I've spent my entire life admiring Pennsylvania State University for its integrity, loyalty and dedication to molding young adults into leaders, an ideal encapsulated by head football coach Joe Paterno.
I've never honestly felt anything but pride for my alma mater — before, during and after I was a student there. It's the only school I applied to, the only place I wanted to go. Sure, there were times I was angry with some policies, disappointed with athletic results and frustrated with administrators, but I always could take pride in the way the university went about its business.
Now that entire feeling has been shattered. One disturbing, disgusting old man betrayed the trust of children under the guise of help, and the actions of this one horrible human being — and no matter how great of a coach Jerry Sandusky was, anyone who disagrees that he is an absolute monster is as sick as he is — have snowballed into a complete catastrophe.
Right now, people want heads to roll, and rightfully so. I am as big of a Penn State supporter as there's ever been, but I just cannot fathom anyone surviving this. Forget whether the allegations are true or false for a minute, as hard as that is to do. Just think of the simple fact that not a single one of these men named in the investigation reported potential child abuse to police. That is despicable and unforgivable.
Tim Curley and Gary Schultz should have been fired immediately. Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary should be the next ones to step down. And frankly, Graham Spanier should not be far behind, not after declaring his unwavering support for those indicted on perjury charges.
Forget what the minimum legal guidelines are. By all accounts, Paterno and McQueary met those standards, for which they should be credited. But the fact of the matter is everyone involved knew something inappropriate occurred between Sandusky and a minor, and none of them went to the police. Neither McQueary nor Paterno ever followed up with Curley and Schultz after essentially nothing was done. You can provide lip service all you want to protecting children is of utmost importance, but the fact of the matter is it wasn't to any of these men in this case. If it was, all of them would have went police immediately — not just one of them, but all of them. Yet no one did.
I can't even begin to tell you how heartbroken I am for the children and families that have had to go through this. They are the most important entities here, the people my university completely and utterly failed to protect. They must live with the deplorable events for the rest of their lives.
Selfishly, I'm also heartbroken for Penn State and its countless alumni all over the world. Everything we have been led to believe has now been irreversibly tarnished. Pride is no longer the first thing we think of when we think about our university.
I have tickets to senior day against Nebraska, a huge game between two ranked teams with giant conference implications. Just a few days ago, I couldn't have been more excited to go. Now I don't even want to make the trip because I'm so ashamed of the actions from high-ranking officials at my alma mater, members of the coaching staff included. It just feels wrong to support anything Penn State right now, a sad reaction indeed.
No one is without guilt here if any ounce of this is true, and it seems pretty clear that's the case. After 50-plus years of the "success with honor" motto being a staple of Penn State football and the university as a whole, it's all come crashing down.
There is no honor to be had here, and there won't be for some time. This won't be going away anytime soon. And as a once-proud alum, I am saddened, disgusted, heartbroken and distraught. Imagine how those innocent young boys and their families must feel.