While we don’t have anything quite as newsworthy as the trials and tribulations of the institution that is Penn State at present, we can’t help but consider our own home state and the gusto with which we support our college sports programs. There is no dispute that what this man was convicted of doing was indecent, cruel, and worthy of substantial punishment in a criminal court. The question before the NCAA was did Coach Paterno and the leadership at Penn State cover up these lewd acts? Did they do enough to protect the innocent? Were they so focused on the program, it’s success, and the publicity and rewards that came with a successful football program to respect what is good and decent in our civilization–what is right and wrong? The scope of the sanctions against the University suggest the NCAA feels Penn State let it’s students down by not living by what is right and what is wrong. The consequences of this decision by the NCAA affect more than multi-million dollar fines and vacated victories. It will affect athletes for years to come. One can not even begin to ponder the residual affect economically for the community, the negativity toward past and future graduates, and the impact to the school over all. I learned early on that actions have consequences and if you can’t live with the consequences, then maybe you should rethink the actions.
As this debacle has unfolded in front of us on every major news station, I’ve pondered what if this was happening in Kentucky. How would folks here react if this had happened here? Would we be watching riots across the state? Corn and bean fields torched in protest of the NCAA’s sanctions? Would you sit idly by and accept the sanctions?
Our UK fans “bleed blue.” You must only check Facebook, the blogs, and any restaurant conversation during March Madness to recognize that our UK fans are fanatics. But, is bleeding blue the same as turning a blind eye? I would hope not. I would hope that we never have anything as egregious as this scandal at Penn State happen here in Kentucky. My eternally optimistic personality wants me to believe that we still raise our children with the fundamentals of right and wrong and that we still hold each other to higher moral standards than documented wins and ESPN highlights. Nevertheless, this outcome certainly should give us pause. We should consider the outcome prior to making the decision.
Let’s pray we see an end to this senselessness and find respect for one another. No person should prey upon another and we as a society should not turn an eye from it.