Final Thoughts on Penn State

I grew up in a working class area where a lot of folks didn’t end up going to college. Those that did generally tended to either go to a few years at Delaware County Community, or if they were into a four year university, to Penn State. It was with a bit of surprise that my high school guidance counselor reacted with when I informed him I did not want to apply there.

I applied to only two schools. University of Delaware, and Drexel University. I was accepted at both. I went to Drexel and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. My guidance counselors were telling me it was foolish not at least applying to Penn State. I went to a football crazy high school, and I considered the fact that Drexel did not field a football team to be a plus.

I keep thinking back to the guidance counselor’s advice, and wondering “Who’s the fool now?” I feel bad for the folks carrying Penn State degrees into the job market now. While if I were the hiring manager, I wouldn’t hold it against anyone, this scandal has been more than embarrassing. Hopefully the school will recover, and learn something from it. Jonathan Adler pointed out:

The cowardice of some was no doubt motivated by a sincere desire to protect the reputation of the university and its football program; to preserve the house that JoePa built. And yet, as I noted yesterday, the failure to take immediate action has, in fact, done more to tarnish the PSU football program and Paterno’s legacy than would have a determined effort to protect children from the predator in their midst. It may even hit the university’s credit rating. Placing the welfare of the football program ahead of the Sandusky’s victims protected neither.

Had Nixon been forthcoming about Watergate, and fired those responsible, rather than attempting to cover it up, it’s likely his presidency would have survived. I’ve never seen a case of covering up something wrong ultimately paying off. If the sin is big enough, people will eventually find out. When they do, the backlash is going to be severe.

10 thoughts on “Final Thoughts on Penn State”

  1. My choice of college was also made by the fact that school I went to did not have a football team. The sour taste put in my mouth by the football team matters above everything else in high school has never left me. (Way to many schools treat the football team as the reason the school exists.)

    The person feel the most pain for is the assistant coach who brought this matter to light. His life has been threatened and his career may have been ruined. All because he chose to do the right thing.

    1. er, who? Do you mean McQueary? Cause I think the right thing would have been calling the police and I don’t know he “brought this to light” in any way.

    2. You are joking right? He didn’t stop the anal rape of a 10 yr old. That’s a major lack of character right there….

  2. “I feel bad for the folks carrying Penn State degrees into the job market now”

    Why’s that again? 1 of of 5 engineers is a PSU grad. No one interviewing you will ever ask you “and where is PSU”? -this holds true across the globe. I know PA residents who can’t tell you where Drexel is. Next is the Alumni network, especially if you’re in engineering. 20% chance you’re going to be interviewed by a PSU grad, or someone who has a kid at PSU. The alumni network is massive.

    If job offers were being thrown at you everyday, I could see you’re advice on these matters being of value. But, given the difficulty you’ve been writing about, I wonder if that PSU alumni network passed you over for being a Drexel grad while they hired a PSU grad?

    Lastly, by the time you’re 10 years out of school your college of graduation and your transcripts are only a small factor in the hiring. What you’ve done for the last 10 years is what an potential employer is going to focus on. If someone focused on my junior year COBOL class, that would be a flag telling me that it’s not a place I’d want to work.

    PSU grads should be more worried about the academic fraud of Dr. Michael Mann and his hockey stick of lies as well as the sham academic inquiry which cleared him of all wrong doing before testimony was ever heard.

      1. I actually think it’s more the issue in considering whether the resume from the PSU senior sitting on the desk was a student who took part in riots that damaged cars & resulted in torn down lamposts. I don’t think it’s the actions of Sandusky & the football program that have the potential to reflect poorly on the soon-to-be-alumni, but the actions of many students that could reflect poorly on the entire student body. Basically, it might make someone do a double take on any extracurriculars or other related experience the student might have that would indicate if they could be a trouble maker.

    1. I wonder if that PSU alumni network passed you over for being a Drexel grad while they hired a PSU grad?

      It’s been a while since I’ve been on the market, but in this area, you’re traditionally about as likely to be interviewed by a Drexel grad as a PSU grad. In the last engineering shop I worked in, Drexel grads were more common.

  3. “I’ve never seen a case of covering up something wrong ultimately paying off.”

    Well, logically, if it paid off, you wouldn’t. Bit of a sample bias, isn’t it?

    But yes – it usually does not bode well.

    1. In some of my experiences with this, on matters not nearly as grave… you can cover up the little things that don’t generally matter that much. When it comes to the big things, the truth usually gets out. Executives can cover up things like, why turnover was 15% this year. Much harder to cover up the fact that the company is running out of money.

  4. As regards McQueary’s action, or lack thereof, I believe the “right thing” would have been to physically intervene right then and there. It would have been fairly easy to explain Sandusky slipping in the shower, and much simpler to keep quiet. Plus, it would have prevented some future unpleasantness.
    It still boggles my mind that a graduate assistant in a football program lacked the physical will to stop the ongoing anal rape of a ten-year-old boy. That’s the takeaway for me – the rest of it is just bureaucracy in action.

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