Defending the indefensible
The sad saga of Penn State’s sex scandal is getting even more sordid with the emergence of Gov. Tom Corbett in the role of chief apologist and whiner for the university. Corbett filed suit last week challenging the sanctions imposed on Penn State for its complicity in the long-term sexual abuse of adolescent boys by a former Nittany Lion assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Corbett was joined days later by state Sen. Jake Corman, who represents the area where Penn State’s campus is located and chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. Corbett’s suit argues that the NCAA is violating antitrust law by sanctioning Penn State for the misdeeds within its football program. Corman’s suit claims that the NCAA’s fine of $60 million, to which Penn State agreed, usurps his authority to oversee the expenditure of state funds. The state provides about 5 percent of Penn State’s annual $4.2 billion budget.
We’re willing to bet that Corbett and Corman, both Republicans, are on record as being strenuously opposed to frivolous lawsuits — unless such a lawsuit might serve some political advantage for them.
The Penn State tragedy provided an opportunity for the university and the state to examine the priorities and values that were exposed when people at the highest levels in the university and its football program looked the other way while Sandusky molested children. When the leaders of any institution become so consumed with winning that they are blind to evil in their midst, there is a price to be paid.
Corbett, Corman and others who have joined a chorus of complainers about the severity of the sanctions against Penn State are obviously losing sight of that, which is, quite literally, a shame.