(Un)Happy Valley For Nittany Lions
University Park, PA
Since 2003, the Penn State Football program has been tainted by several (alleged) criminal acts by its players. Tony Johnson (DUI ’03), Anwar Phillips (Felony Sex Charges ’03), LaVon Chisley (Murder ’05), Austin Scott (Rape ’07) and Anthony Scirrotto (Burglary, Felony Trespassing ’07). Five other players were charged with Scirrotto for their participation in a highly publicized off-campus fight during the spring.
And just two weeks ago, current players were involved in an on-campus brawl at the Hetzel Union Building. The once flawless reputation of the boys in the plain blue and white jerseys is no more. These alleged offenses are nothing to take lightly and they may cost some student-athletes more than they could have imagined.
And what of the university’s and coaches culpability as it relates to these offenses? Could there be lawsuits against the football program? My opinion is that there will be some litigation in the future.
What is truly shocking about this behavior happening at Penn State is the fact that the program has a fantastic graduation rate. A 2006 NCAA report said Penn State’s football graduation rate of 83 percent was seventh-best among the 119 Football Bowl Division institutions, and the best in the Big Ten.
This is the result of the program recruiting solid citizens who are coping well in a campus environment. Sadly, there has been too many acts of violence and it will overshadow all the positive that the football team exhibits.