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Friday, July 27, 2012

Will Penn State Scandal Change College Sports?

A banner celebrating the 44 bowl games that the Penn State football team has played in hangs outside of Beaver Stadium on the Penn State University main campus in State College, Pa. (AP)

State Farm will pull its advertising from Penn State football broadcasts, and General Motors may follow. The news is significant because corporate advertising is the life blood of big college football. And it means the final cost of the Penn State’s cover-up of child sex abuse by convicted assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky could go well beyond the $60 million dollar fine and other penalties imposed this week by the NCAA.

But will all this lead to any real change in the governance and oversight of college sports? The scandal at Penn State is the latest and perhaps the most shocking indication of a college sports system in need of reform, but it is by no means the first.

Historian and author Taylor Branch, who wrote a much-talked-about cover story for The Atlantic last year titled “The Shame of College Sports,” doesn’t think the NCAA penalties will restore a proper balance between college academics and big time college sports.

“Penn State is losing big time, yes. But $60 million dollars is revenue from one year,” Branch told Here & Now‘s Anthony Brooks. “They are not even considering telling Penn State they can’t be on TV, which they used to do, because now that revenue has skyrocketed to such a degree that it would cripple Penn State. They’re going to be able to get over this…in time. The bigger problem here is that the remedies here pretend to get at the structure of college sports while really telling everybody that this is an isolated problem, extreme human failure at Penn State not likely to be repeated.”


  • Taylor Branch, historian and author of “The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA”

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  • Kathy

    Yes these athletes should be paid, but they should be paid as part of a minor league for football or basketball. If universities want to own a team in those leagues for heritage reasons, that’s fine, but they should have no connection to education and there should be no requirement that players attend the school. Let’s get rid of this myth that these people are actually academic students. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/ken.palosi Ken Palosi

      Kathy makes a good point. College football is in reality a captive minor league for the NFL. The NFL and the NCAA have conspired to hold football players captive in their college programs until their junior year. The collaboration between the NFL and the NCAA is shameful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.palosi Ken Palosi

    My thanks to Mr. Branch for his statements. For years I have been calling for an end to the hypocrisy concerning college sports. See my blog Another One Bites the Dust http://northcanton.patch.com/blog_posts/patch-blogs-another-one-bites-the-dust written after the Jim Tressel scandal broke. College sports; especially football are in reality very big business where the NCAA only pays lip service to the integrity of college sports. I have long felt that college athletes; especiall the football and basketball players should be paid. Considering the millions of dollars that universities make from sports is embarassing that most of these athletes are used by the univerities and then discarded much like an asset that has been used up and has not further value. Mr. Branch’s concise and lucid views need to come to the awareness of everyone.

  • Guest

    Enough about Penn State, etc. 
    There are lots of more important stories and issues.

  • J Frog

     College sports is not a business.  If it were, there wouldn’t be a Title 9.  So I’m against treating athletes like employees (with all the good and bad that goes with that).  The best of athletes get a scholarship and pro contracts.  The worst just get the scholarship.  I keep hearing about the six figure debt students are taking out of college.  A scholarship is worth a lot.

  • Davesix6

    The NCAA has for no good reason harmed the innocent athletes and student body at Penn State.
    The guest is absolutely right, Big College sports is a business.
    The NCAA is a typical example of Big Education and their left wing hypocrisy.
    In typical left wing fashion, there are a lot of people being paid as a result of the efforts of others who are not being truly compensated for their contribution.
    Why isn’t anyone in the NCAA being punished for their failures?
    Where is their accountability?

  • Paul

    The Penn State scandal involves much more than an “out of control” athletic program. Penn State’s “administration-centered culture” has impacted all aspects of the university. The highly centralized bureaucracy squelches discussion and debate. Secrecy, filtering of information and decision-making by a select few for their personal benefit contradicts the moral and academic integrity of an honest “faculty-student centered university”. Penn State is a prime example of a university governed by a small powerful group of bureaucrats who would sacrifice the mission of the university for their own personal gain. To date they have succeeded. Let the debate about the larger university culture begin: “administration-centered” or “faculty-student centered” university structure ?  

  • zhongguo394


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