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Friday, November 11, 2011

About JoPa

Growing up in the South, I was never a fan of football at northern universities like Penn State. For that reason I don't have an emotional reaction to Joe Paterno's firing, but I do have a few thoughts about it.
  • University coaches should retire by age 65 or 70. Paterno should not have been coaching at 84, and Bobby Bowden should not have been coaching at 81. It's true that a high degree of competitiveness is required to be a successful top-tier coach, and competitiveness doesn't always diminish with age. Nevertheless, there's a point where the problems inherent in long tenures become acute. Long tenures facilitate over-involvement of alumni and fans, and over-involvement leads to program abuse.

  • There is so much money in college football that it perverts the judgment of fundamentally good people and institutions.

  • As we have seen in the Roman Catholic Church and elsewhere, people tend to cover up or disregard sexual abuse. I hope and pray that in the 21st century, humankind will adopt a consistent position of absolute intolerance for sexual abuse of all kinds.
It's sad that Paterno's mainly admirable career ends this way, but I endorse the decision to fire him -- and I commend Penn State's courage in doing so.