Bethel students respond to Penn State turmoil

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Although many Penn Staters were concerned with the possible lack of offense going into the 2011-12 season, quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden teamed up to give the Nittany Lions just enough scoring to take eight out of the first nine games. In addition, the defense lived up to the school’s tradition, allowing less than 13 points a game. Despite slipping to currently third ranked Alabama by a score of 27-11, Penn State surprised many across the nation by heading into week 11 undefeated in the Big Ten and two games ahead of Wisconsin and Ohio State in the Leader’s division. Then, disaster struck. News broke out that Jerry Sandusky, who coached as a defensive coordinator for 23 seasons and 30 seasons as some sort of an assistant under Joe Paterno was charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15 year period. Even worse, it was speculated that Sandusky was using a children’s charity he founded called The Second Mile to track in these innocent boys. Also, there was an eye-witness report that at least one of the counts occurred in a Penn State locker room. In addition to this, many top officials at Penn State, including legendary head Coach Joe Paterno, learned of this eye-witness and had done nothing to report it to police. From there, things went downhill quickly, as the Penn State Board of Trustees took little time firing President Graham Spanier as well as Paterno, who had reported the eye-witness account to Spanier and Athletic Director Tim Curley. Throughout the entire week Penn State students, alumni, and college football fans voiced their opinions as to what should be done and what can be done for the program. Controversy continues to mount and the world of sports is now without one of its greatest coaches in the history of college athletics. In addition, Paterno will never coach another game and will never receive the exit he had deserved prior to this bombshell. It is a difficult issue because it involves taking advantage of defenseless individuals and something that is much bigger than sports. However, the legendary coach Paterno nicknamed “Joe Pa” reported what he knew to higher authorities and failed to break any laws or NCAA violations. “It's sad to see Joe Paterno go out this way after how much he has done not only for the football program, but the university as well,” said Josh Lutz, who is an avid Penn State fan and a senior at Bethel. “Joe Paterno is Penn State University.” Lutz also mentioned that he understood why the Board of Trustees acted the way they did, but the fact of the matter is that it is a terrible situation all the way around. In addition, he said that he will continue to support Nittany Lion athletics to the fullest and is anxious to see the school head in the direction of recovery. Following the scandal, Penn State hosted the number 19th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. Penn State fell behind early and although their offense showed some resilience, they fell 17-14. Before the game, there was a moment of silence for all of the victims in this case and both teams kneeled together at the 50 yard-line to pray before the game. Overall, it gave a feeling that this is more than about the fame of Joe Pa, the conference standings, or the reputation of the school. The bottom line was that several young boys had their innocence taken from them and nothing was done to stop it. “The lives and well-being of quite a few kids have been affected by someone's poor choices,” said Jill Focht, who is also a passionate Penn Stater. “The only thing we as Penn State fans and others as Christians can do is to pray for healing and that good will come from a dark time for all involved.” Focht sided with Lutz in that this is clearly much bigger than the world of sports or the legend of a coach. From here, Penn State will try to finish the season with interim coach Tom Bradley at the helm. It will not be easy as the Nittany Lions must travel to Ohio State and Wisconsin in their last two games of the season. If they manage to win both of those games, they will represent the Leader’s division in the Big Ten Championship game held at Lucas Oil Stadium.  
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