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Monday, January 6, 2014

An open letter to fellow Penn State alumni

Dear Fellow Penn State Alumni, 

It was never going to happen, despite a desire to "Billieve".

Coach Bill O'Brien was not going to be the next Joe Paterno.  In fact there was never any chance he would be; instead, he went for the money (details from Penn State HERE).  

Reality is setting in, even for Penn State football fans.  This includes the facts that:
  • College football isn't about honor and integrity; it's about business and money.  It has more to do with building bank accounts that it does building character.  Want proof?  Look no further than to the lies told by Bill O'Brien to potential Penn State athlete-students during recruiting trips. 
  • Even in "going for the money", keep in mind that the football coach at Penn State was (and probably still will be) the highest paid public employee in all of Pennsylvania.  How much sense does that make?  The coach of a vehicle for entertainment (and remember football is just that, entertainment) is paid more than the people who teach future doctors and nurses how to save lives.  Yes, there is a ton of glory in that one.
  • The days of a decades long coach will never, ever happen again.  Never, ever, period.  Success at Penn State will breed offers from other schools and the NFL.  Get used to the revolving door boys and girls.  Maybe, if the school is lucky (tongue firmly planted in cheek), some spawn-o-Bowden will coach the team.  "Bowdenieve" anyone?
  • The fantasy of the "student athlete" is slowly fading away and is being replaced by the reality of the "athlete who is nominally also a student", even at Penn State.

All is not lost though, as the cult of football survived Joe Paterno's (at best) indifference to child molestation, and it will survive the departure of Bill O'Brien.  Why?  Because the worship of sports isn't about rational thought, ideals or anything high-minded of the sort.  It's about escapism, in one of its truest and best forms.  We Americans are nothing if not lovers of fantasy and adventure, and college football at Penn State provides a little bit of both for a few weekends starting ever "school" year.

For the Glory

Steve Albert '86
Penn State Alumni Association Life Member

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