A Few Words From Ed Rendell …
This is not the kind of thing that typically happens around here, but—hey—these are not typical times.
Turns out that the former governor’s most recent Saturday sports column, which he writes for the SportsWeek section of the Philadelphia Daily News, was particularly relevant to us: It’s about Penn State being more than a football team. He’d asked the Daily News if he could offer it to us for publication, and his editor said sure. “I’m not running for anything,” Rendell said, “but I thought this might be good for your alumni.”
You can find it below. Keep in mind that this was originally published July 21, two days before the sanctions were announced.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
In Wednesday’s Daily News there was an excellent discussion of whether Penn State’s football program should receive the death penalty for the transgressions of four of its key personnel and for the deeply flawed culture surrounding the program that was so clearly and forcefully laid out by the Freeh Report. The NCAA president, while acknowledging that this situation was unique, did not rule out that possibility.
I strongly believe that the death penalty would be an inappropriate sanction as a result of the immense collateral damage that such a sanction would create. In addition to punishing the University, it would unfairly punish the players and coaches who had absolutely nothing to do with the horrific behavior that occurred here. In fact, many of these same players were responsible for perhaps the only bright spot that took place in the last year, when the entire team walked out to midfield for the coin toss with the entire Nebraska team and knelt in prayer for the children who were abused.
I believe Penn State should be punished, but the correct action would be for the NCAA to take away all or a significant part of the profits generated by the football program and give them to non-profit agencies who are trying to deal with the horror of child abuse. This punishment should be meted out for a number of years. Now I realize that this action would hurt virtually every other sports program at Penn State that depends on the funds generated by football, but this loss of funds will have to be counterbalanced by what has already been a tremendous level of alumni support.
I have witnessed firsthand thousands of Nittany Lion alumni literally roar with great pride, WE ARE PENN STATE. In the face of the unspeakable tragedy that has occurred, it is time for every one of them to decide what it really is about Penn State that they are so proud of. Is Penn State all about the fabled football program that has achieved so much success in what seemed to be done in the “right way”? Or is it much more than that?
Is it the College of Agriculture Sciences, which helps make Pennsylvania one of the most productive farm states in the nation with its cutting edge research and scientific innovations? Is it the College of Education, which has provided schools all over the nation with tens of thousands of incredibly well prepared teachers? Or is it the College of Engineering, which annually graduates more engineers than any university in the country?
How about its Millennium Science Complex, where 232 US companies have used its nanofabrication facilities for research and testing and whose faculty has produced 2,194 scholarly papers on nanotechnology—15 percent of all those in America in a four-year period. During my tenure as governor, the state’s capital redevelopment assistance program gave nearly $80 million to help create this complex. In just a few short years, we have seen it produce thousands of well paying jobs, conduct amazing research that is helping to develop potential remedies for previously incurable liver cancer, and produce advanced materials that can be used for thermal surgery cameras and in spectrum analyzers.
The obvious point of all this should be clear to everyone—that Penn State is a whole lot more than its football program. It’s a flat-out great university that does so much good for our state, our country, and the world. So this is the time for its alumni to step up and support all of Penn State’s great athletic AND academic programs.
In a true testament to the alumni’s unwavering support of the university, more donors than ever before contributed in 2011-2012, leading to a total of $208 million, which is the second largest amount in Penn State’s history. Now is clearly the time for the alumni to continue to rally around their school and to say loudly and clearly that this great center of learning will endure, will survive even the death penalty (if imposed) because the Penn State that “WE ARE” is a whole lot more than football!!!