College

Abbatacola: Penn State, Do The Right Thing

(credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

abbatacola Matt Abbatacola
Matt Abbatacola has been the Executive Producer of "The Boers and...
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By Matt Abbatacola-

(CBS) Change is coming to Happy Valley. It will be drastic and remarkable.

Penn State officials have the opportunity to speak for the victims of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal. PSU must make the changes.

It would be less significant and less meaningful if change was forced upon the school by outside sources. The leadership at Penn State must take action against itself to let the victims know that their voices have been heard and that the men and women in charge at Happy Valley will no longer protect a child predator.

The “death penalty” at Penn State would destroy the entire university. In 2012, football will generate approximately $50 million dollars or roughly 40% of the revenue created through athletics.

A death sentence to the football program also condemns every other student-athlete at PSU. It also affects every student who will never wear a uniform of any kind. It also will affect every faculty member who has dedicated their lives to the pursuit of higher learning and accomplishments not found on the football field.

Most people wouldn’t care if the university was completely decimated. That would be unfair.

I know, you’re angry – you’re calling me names. You’re screaming that PSU doesn’t deserve temperance or to be treated fairly.

Well, you’re wrong.

Those individuals that deserve punishment will receive it. I am confident of that fact. You should be too. We must be better at being humans than the people at PSU who committed or allowed such disgusting and unthinkable crimes.

The consequences the university faces (no matter how severe) will never satisfy the amount of pain and destruction that all of us want to see brought down upon PSU. There is no appropriate amount of punishment to fit this particular crime.

There must be immediate and decisive action taken at Penn State by Penn State.

First, I want a plaque made with the following words and hung in every office where PSU leadership works and meets:

“I believe that Penn State football has played a significant role in the foundation of the Second Mile.” – Jerry Sandusky

They must never forget what took place at the hands of PSU leadership and therefore need to operate everyday under this type of scrutiny.

Second, Penn State must become the new standard bearer for ethics and integrity with regards to its leadership. They must be transparent in every action. There can never be opportunity for doubt to ever arise. They must be above reproach and not only allow public examination of all their doings, but must encourage it.

Third, Penn State must be at the forefront of child abuse awareness. This would include a new department dedicated to establishing new standards on child protection laws. I want to see a yearly conference where individuals that serve and protect innocent children can come together to learn from each other and work together so no child in this country is left without a voice or a place to turn if they are abused. PSU should strive to be a beacon of hope and safety for innocent children.

Fourth, there must be a significant amount of funds being generated each year to help already established and reputable organizations that work at protecting and aiding victims of child abuse.

Fifth, the football program should continue under self-imposed sanctions:

a. They forfeit every game. The games should be played but the outcome is already known – despite the score, PSU loses. How long? That cannot be answered now. There are no national championships, no conference titles, and no bowl games.
b. The team needs a new identity. That begins with new uniforms and a new name.
c. The Joe Paterno statue comes down and a new memorial is created and dedicated to Sandusky’s victims for the years of silence they had to endure. As PSU players take the field and run past this memorial, it won’t serve as a reminder of what PSU was, but where PSU is headed.
d. No disrespect to Louis and Mildred Lasch, but the building that bears their name must be changed. Their name cannot be found anywhere on campus. At no fault of their own, they are forever associated with the worst scandal in college football. The football building should be nameless as were/are Sandusky’s victims.
e. As talks have already been mentioned, any location on campus where Sandusky attacked his victims must be torn down and rebuilt. For example, the showers in the Lasch building…

I don’t want the football program to be celebrated or recognized in any way. There are a great number of people that will participate in PSU football in 2012 and beyond that had nothing to do with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. It would not be fair to punish them, but we cannot allow special recognition to a program that was the umbrella of protection to a child predator.

The recruits can play and hopefully graduate with a valuable degree and some can move on to the NFL based on their playing ability, but they will not bring a collegiate athletic career with them that is full of recognition and accomplishments. The incoming class of student-athletes was recruited by the new coaching staff while this scandal was becoming public knowledge. They chose this school.

College GameDay and Big Ten Network, stay away – you’re not needed on campus. PSU doesn’t get any national broadcasts … sorry.

It would be too difficult to justify and unfair to other schools on schedule to play PSU if football didn’t continue at Happy Valley.

Something better must come from this tragedy. We are far from the end of this scandal and it seems as though new revelations keep popping up with each passing week. This period in the history at PSU will one day come to an end. The new legacy at Penn State should be to champion victims of child abuse. They must. It would speak volumes if they begin this journey on their own.

Penn State, do the right thing.