My guess for why the statue came down this weekend is that the NCAA (the regulating agency for college football in America) is going to come down on Penn State tomorrow like holy hell. Unprecedented penalties doesn’t usually mean a wrist slap or some kind of token fine. (I mean, after all, this isn’t Wall Street.)
Removing the statue is a bit of shock therapy for the diehard Joe Paterno defenders, who, at this point, should really only number his family and other close relatives who shook the school down for as much money and benefits as they could when the storm clouds started forming in 2011. This is a state where power people tend to get way out of line, and, when they do, it’s usually people from outside the state who have to make such a big news issue out of it, that finally the state is shamed into doing what it is supposed to do.
You would have a hard time believing that America got its start here, and the ways and practices that we consider, and the world considers, to be “American” really developed in the settlements around Philadelphia in the 1700s.
As I’ve pointed out, when it comes to college shenanigans, it’s not just Penn State. Temple University has had a “Friends and Family” nepotism/cronyism thing going on there for some time. One gets in, and then the son, or the wife, or the wife of the close buddy gets hired in for a six-or-seven figure position. Regular readers know that I’ve identified over $11 million going to Temple Japan in the past couple years (2009-2011), when the official line is that NO money goes from Philadelphia to Tokyo, and only a $1 million management fee from Tokyo to Philadelphia.
What makes this all possible is that lack of centralized control and accountability. It’s the state with one of the largest—if not the largest—rural populations in America. The people are all spread out, and the local barons don’t appreciate when outsiders start poking around into their affairs.
This is why Penn State is going to get walloped. The organizations that are broader than these little communities within Pennsylvania don’t appreciate when Pennsylvania antics start making the outsiders look really bad.
[Update 7/23/12: Penn State gets hammered. Sixty million dollar fine, no bowl games for x number of years.]