View Full Version : Blinded by Penn State's utopian vision

11-13-2011, 05:27 PM
http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/20111113_Blinded_by_Penn_State_s_utopian_vision.ht ml?c=r

Blinded by Penn State's utopian vision
Mike Missanelli, For the Inquirer

...The town in which I'd grown up was lower middle class. A factory down at the end of my street made powdered laundry soap, and all day long it would spew impurities that put a daily coat of white dust on the neighborhood's parked cars. The walkway that led from our front brick steps ran smack into a transformer telephone pole that fronted the street. Looking out my parents' dining room front window, I viewed daily a labyrinth of electric and telephone lines jutting from that transformer....

For me, Penn State was just . . . well . . . sanitized.

The streets of State College are pristine, and the air there feels as if it has gone through some kind of natural filter. On a clear day you can see forever - they had to have written that song about Penn State. On a clear day, a sun-splashed day, with the Nittany Mountains on the horizon, the place seems as if it's been touched by the hand of God.

Penn State is an addictive comfort, with its venerable buildings and tall oaks and ivy walls, and where its students deliver a daily cultlike mantra of "We are . . . Penn State!"

To the outside world, that chant is a little weird, but Penn Staters never take the time to even consider the strangeness, because they are so caught up in the spirit of a setting that is so idyllic. When students get their degrees at Penn State, when their time has finally run out there, many of them try to invent ways to stay - grad school, a job at the university, slinging hot dogs at a storefront eatery. Anything to remain in utopia....

...Which brings me to Tim Curley.

The Penn State athletic director, snarled in perhaps the biggest college scandal in American history - said to have covered up multiple acts of child sexual abuse and then lying to a grand jury about it - is a State College man. Curley's family is a Penn State family. His father was a senior administrator at the university. Tim Curley was born and raised there, and graduated from State College Area High School, where he was a quarterback. He was a decent talent, maybe decent enough to play in Division II. But the lure of becoming a Penn State man was too great.

Curley made the Nittany Lions as a walk-on before suffering an injury that ended his playing career. He would then become Joe Paterno's handpicked protege, serving for years as a graduate assistant, then working his way up the athletic administration rock wall, climbing until he was positioned in 1993 to succeed Penn State's longtime, old-school athletic director, Jim Tarman.

When it was decided, with much lobbying from Paterno, that Curley would be chosen as the next AD, at Tarman's retirement event Paterno got up and told Tarman, "The best I can do for you tonight, Jim, is to give you Tim Curley."

...In the late spring of 2004, Curley arrived at the home of Paterno, along with Spanier, in an attempt to persuade Paterno to retire, or at least formulate an exit plan. Paterno all but chased them out his door - no other coach would have that kind of power. From that moment on, Curley became persona non grata with Paterno, a man Curley had looked to as a second father. Is it possible that Curley's noncompliance with the Jerry Sandusky affair was a perverse way of making it up to his beloved JoePa?...

More at the link.