In Bruce's blog he asks what Penn State fans think of what is going on in Happy Valley, and our take on it. Here is the email I wrote to him.
There are a few reasons why I think all of this trouble is going on at Penn State, and some of it isn't really new. With the internet, you tube, and everyone wanting information now, it is much harder cover up bad behavior by student-athletes. One little mess up at a bar and all it takes is someone with a camera phone, or even someone with a blog to post it. I am sure bad behavior such as fights and underage drinking went on at Penn State but it was much easier for Joe to handle it. The cops would just call him and he would handle it internally, now that doesn't happen anymore. It becomes front page news. Many people say that Joe has lost his team, that since he works at home most of the time he doesn't have the same grasp over his team like he use to. To an extent that is true, but he has delegated a lot of that to the staff. But in the end it is up to the football players to police themselves. Their coaches can't be babysitters, they are grown men and there is only so much time the coaches can be in contact with them in a day. In my opinion this team, as well as most other Penn State teams since 2000 (minus 2005) are lacking leadership. They are lacking that presence in the locker room that will kick your butt if you get out of line. A group of people that will call you out in front of your peer if you do something wrong and set a good example with their actions, not only on the field but in the community too. I'm sure you noticed this when you wrote Meat Market, but kids now have this aura of self-entitlement. They feel they should be given everything just because who they are and what potential they have going for them. Take Chris Bell for instance, he was trouble since Penn State started recruiting him. On his trip he stepped on the "S" in the middle of the locker room and when the players told him he had to do push ups…he refused. In High School these kids were treated like gods, and I'm sure they weren't saints there. But it was easier for their bad behavior to get swept under the rug in a smaller town, with less spotlight on them. Which brings me to my next point; I think Joe and his staff has taken more chances on players with character issues than in years past. After going through those losing skids, I think he realized that he needed to get better athletes in the program and with that it included taking in some kids in which he might have passed on before because of their character. It is great if those kids get their act straight or if Joe can get through to them and turn their attitude around, but that doesn't happen all the time. He is over 80 years old and some what out of touch with today's young adults, so that task might be more difficult than it at first thought for him. You made a quote in your blog: "According to Bracken's column, there have been over 60 Penn State players who "have run afoul of the law just since 2002." That is a staggering number, especially for a program that has had a long reputation for doing things the right way."" For years Penn State touted "Success With Honor" and winning the right way. When you start waving that around it is great when your team is winning and your kids aren't getting in trouble, but once they start getting in trouble, the media and opposing fans are going to make sure you hear about it. They are going to point out that your program is getting in trouble in the police blotter and how you rubbed it in for years that you won without this happening. It is a way for the rest of the college football world to chuckle.As far as the subject of Joe Paterno as head coach of the Nittany Lions; put me in the camp that is undecided. Ivan Maisel writes an excellent article on Paterno. Yes there is a air of uncertainty surrounding the program, but there still is something to be said for a man doing as well as he is at 81, coaching a major university. Plus there are still kids out there that want to play for a legend like Paterno. I guess my big wish is for him to come down a peg or two and start to lay out plans for when he does decide to hang it up. Maybe he has already done it behind the scenes, but if I were a betting man, I suspect he hasn't just yet.