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Burn Down the Mission: A Penn State Alumni Perspective


May no act of ours bring shame,
To one heart that loves thy name.
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.
Penn State Alma Mater

This is the Penn State I remember

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a rough week. The Week 9 picks went 0-2 but I can handle that, I’ve lost games before. I hate losing, but in the context of everything it’s not a big deal. My thoughts over the past few days have been pretty much been all Penn State. It all started on Friday afternoon when the news broke, then things just went straight downhill from there. I know I usually am a ball busting, wisecracking internet blogger, but this weekend my thoughts were elsewhere.

Digesting the news from State College, hearing the sickening stories about the abuse of children, about the cover-up, the passing of the buck, and then witnessing the national explosion of raw anger directed at my school was very tough to stomach.

Yeah, I said ‘my’. I am a Penn Stater. I grew up a Penn State fan, I graduated from Penn State and I will continue to support the school. Forget for a minute (if you even can) about the people who let this horror happen, I will always be a Penn Stater at heart. The beautiful campus, the sleepy town of State College, Old Main, the Nittany Lion statue at Rec Hall, The Rathskellar, the HUB, Zeno’s, THON, The College Diner, it is all engrained in my soul. And that is tough to shake.

People hate Penn State right now, and I understand the anger. But please direct it at those who deserve it. Sandusky, Spanier, Curley, McQueary, Paterno, et al. The alumni and students are as confused and angered about this as the general public. And hopefully this episode will open the eyes of everyone who is in a position of power, “if you see something, then say something”. And not just “I told someone and washed my hands of it.” The men mentioned above (if the facts in the case are true) allowed these unspeakable acts to happen for 9 years longer than they should have. Any victim after 2002 (and possibly as far back as 1998) could have been saved.

The House That Joe Built is now haunted.

The thought of what happened and how the lives of an unknown number of kids have been impacted by this (9 at this point, and probably many more)  is hard to process. How multiple adults, seemingly responsible, upstanding men who speak of ‘Success with Honor’ and ‘For the Glory’ allowed this to go on is a mystery to me.

I’m not going to rehash the story and I’m not going run through the ‘what-if’s’ and the ‘how could they’s’. That’s already been done hundreds of times over this week by people who are more qualified than me. Start at or, that should be enough to fire you up.

But I won’t spare you from my opinion. Here it is. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice-President Gary Schultz are already gone. Now, President Graham Spanier needs to go. Head Coach Joe Paterno needs to go (the latest news reports say that he is retiring at the end of the season, he should step down immediately). WR Coach Mike McQuery needs to go. Anyone who knew something yet did nothing (or didn’t do enough), needs to go. The school’s reputation wasn’t just tarnished, it was evaporated. We are now starting from nothing. It’s not going to be easy, but it has to be done.

Nothing in State College will ever be the same again, nothing will shake this tragedy from the fabric of Penn State. The best we can do is blow it all up and start over again. This time we need to make sure we get people in charge who truly believe in ‘Success with Honor’.

Of the multitudes of Penn State stories this week, 3 really stuck out to me. One is from a blog that usually doesn’t deal in “real news”, another by a PSU beat writer, and the 3rd from

because we say, ‘we are penn state’ – Pav-Lo (
It’s time to clean house at Penn StateRich Scarcella (
Growing Up Penn State Michael Weinreb (

Everybody now, bring your family down to the riverside
Look to the East to see where the fat stock hides
Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
It’s time we put the flame torch to their keep
Burn down the mission, If we’re gonna stay alive

Burn Down the Mission – Elton John

Thanks for letting me vent, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.






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