Doctor X wrote:The comparisons to the Catholic Church and cults in general are not hyperbole. I did not know of--nor cared about--Penn State and college football in general for reasons I will not tangent the thread. The mindless devotion to the Church of Paterno--the amount of power he wielded in not only the university but the state is appalling. The willingness to excuse this behavior from True Believers is only outdone by the willingness of Paterno to cover up these incidents.
I've, until recently, considered Paterno to be one of the finer human beings on the planet. Simply labeling him a coach is a bit unfair, especially from the perspective of Penn State. Sure, he managed to run a competitive program without breaking any major rules and with an absolutely outstanding graduation rate. None of this makes up for his current lapse, to be sure, but it, along with the below does at least partially explain, but not excuse, the sort of denial on the part of PSU partisans.
Beyond sports he brought more money into the academic programs there than one might imagine between alumni support and membership in the CIC. Just membership in the CIC (committee on industrial cooperation) brings in absurd grant money and resources. You get into the CIC by joining the Big 10, which these days means you better have a solid football program along with strong academics. Plus Paterno bought the university a library and made countless other economic sacrifices for the better of the school, although the cynic would point out they were also for the benefit of his legend.
So when you are at Penn State, Paterno's fingerprints are on virtually everything. From the books in the library to the test tubes in the lab, the money behind these things is at least indirectly attributable to Paterno and his program.
So there is a ton of emotional investment involved here, more than would be at any other university. It is a unique situation.