Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Students sound off on Penn State’s scandal

Students sound off on Penn States scandal

Penn State University players and fans experienced something Saturday they hadn’t experienced in nearly 46 years – the absence of coach Joe Paterno. Paterno was fired Wednesday, Nov. 9 in the wake of a child abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

“I think the general theme is people cannot believe it,” The Daily Collegian football editor Ryan Loy said on Friday. “They want to know more information.”

The firing occurred hours after Paterno announced that 2011 would be his last season with the team and caused mass hysteria among the sports world as well as the Penn State campus.

Many Penn State fans were appalled by how abrupt the firing of the legendary coach was, as well as the fact that Paterno was fired over the phone.

“That is one thing that I know people are unhappy about,” Loy said. “I am doing an assignment for class and they had us go downtown to talk to people. One guy in his fifties said, ‘a guy with Joe’s tenure, I can’t believe they did it over the phone.’ They thought he deserved more respect.”

Chaos ensued Wednesday night as Penn State students, enraged by the firing of Paterno, took to the streets of State College, rioting, throwing rocks at police and eventually tipping over a local television station news van. Police with tear gas eventually dispersed the rioters after army officers in riot gear could not break up the crowd.

“It is unfortunate that it happened,” Loy said. “It just added to the negative perception of the entire situation.”

Many lashed out against Penn State assistant Mike McQueary, who initially reported the information to Paterno, though he has not been fired by Penn State.

“From what I’ve heard, that’s the opinion of a lot of people,” Loy said. “A few people said McQueary reported it to his higher ups and so did Paterno, so they essentially did the same thing. A lot of people feel that way, that it just doesn’t add up.”

Late last week ESPN as well as other news stations flooded Penn State, running constant coverage of the scandal.

“I believe all of the coverage on ESPN has been very warranted and definitely not excessive,” UA sophomore Charley Irons said. “The scandal happening at PSU is quite unprecedented and deserves the 24/7 coverage. I watched parts of the PSU game on Saturday and there was a lot of mention of Joe Pa. It was warranted as well because of his effect on the school. The most moving thing was seeing his son cry after the game.”

Constant negative coverage was especially hard on Penn State students.

“It is unfortunate that the coverage is for something like this,” Loy said. “If you are casually there and you have any kind of news station on, you see Penn State. You get to a point where you want to be like it’s not even happening.”

The riots Wednesday night added to the negative view surrounding the Penn State campus. However, UA senior Kayla Glass said the riots do not represent Penn State as a whole.

“As is usually the case, I believe the student riots at Penn State represent only a small percentage of their students,” Glass said. “Though we’re quick to judge them for placing all the emphasis on the firing of Joe Paterno, we forget about the efforts of other students to honor the victims through student-led candle light vigils and other events.”

On Saturday, PSU took the field against Nebraska under the leadership of interim head coach Tom Bradley. For Penn State players, the last home game of the season added to what was an emotional day as the Nittany Lions fell to Nebraska 17-14.

“You could easily see pain in the eyes of the players on senior day,” said UA senior John McWilliams, who watched the game from Tuscaloosa. “When they entered the field walking arm-in-arm, the crowd greeted them with a standing ovation. The Penn State and Nebraska players met at midfield and were led in prayer by a Nebraska assistant coach. The Penn State players looked lost. A guy who was revered as much more than a coach wasn’t on the field. Penn State played exceptionally well despite the distractions. Even though Penn State lost by three points, the players showed resiliency.”

Penn State still has two games left on its schedule and controls its own destiny in the Leaders division of the Big Ten.

“I think football wise this might be the ideal group of guys to handle something like this,” Loy said. “All the games that they have come back from, or all the games that they held a late lead, they have talked about how they have a mentality and a comradery between the guys. I feel like they will be able to handle this well and will be able to come together even more.”


More to Discover