Hands off

By Ty Bunnell | Photographer

Numerous collegiate athletic scandals have made their way into the daily news cycles over the past several years. A recent scandal, however, has highlighted the secrecy and corruption that exists within college athletic organizations more than any before. People at these universities who are involved with these organizations, such as athletic directors, coaches and assistant coaches, need to come forward when they are aware of illegal or immoral activities instead of covering them up and waiting for a scandal to occur years down the line.

One of the more infamous scandals that has occurred lately is the Jerry Sandusky child molestation allegations. Sandusky has been accused of assault and child molestation over a 15-year period while he was a defensive coordinator for legendary coach Joe Paterno at Pennsylvania State University, who died of lung cancer late last month. Mike McQueary, an assistant football coach, said he spoke with Paterno in 2002 after he allegedly witnessed Sandusky molesting a child in the showers. Paterno denied having this conversation. Sandusky and Paterno both lost their respective jobs, and McQueary resigned when the accusations became public.

Some people believe 15 years is a long time for something of this degree to be happening. A question commonly being asked is, “Why hasn’t anyone at these universities said anything?” Over a decade has gone by, and only now is it being brought to the attention of NCAA officials. Who is more at fault, the university, for not speaking up, or the NCAA officials for not catching it?

A less publicized but nonetheless horrific scandal occurred at Syracuse University involving a similar problem not long after the Penn State scandal became public. CNN reported late last year that former ball boy Bobby Davis informed the Syracuse police in 2002 that he was inappropriately touched by men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine in the 1980s and 1990s, but he was told the statute of limitations had passed. It was brought up again in 2011 after Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang publicly accused Fine on ESPN. The university then placed Fine on “administrative leave.”

These scandals have been going on for a long while. The people who are being harassed are scared; it took Davis 20 years to bring it to the police. He is not the only victim who has taken many years to come forward. There can be dozens of scandals that culprits get away with that were never brought up and may not ever be spoken about. The people who are accused of these crimes are severely disturbed, having become coaches in order to have easier access to these kids.

But that does not mean every college has a secretive scandal. NCAA officials and the university officials need to take more initiative when investigating. The NCAA has hundreds of colleges to be watching over, so more in depth investigations should be coming from the university. But when no one is willing to talk about what is going on, this task can be a huge difficulty.

One way to help prevent this problem is to simply hire more officials for the universities or have current university officials continue to do their job but be more vigilant. With more officials these scandals will have a lot harder time staying hidden for so long. Current university officials should speak up and stop protecting their coaches, and universities should stay on top of things and not wait for the NCAA officials to discover these acts years later. That way, people like Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine know they will not get away with their acts. When all is said and done, the person most at fault is the perpetrator, but when university officials learn of information about any such criminal activity, they must come forward and ensure a thorough investigation is conducted.