11/10/11 — Too powerful: Penn State scandal should prompt new look at college football

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Too powerful: Penn State scandal should prompt new look at college football

Joe Paterno's firing is a sad fall from grace.

To think that a decades-long career would end in such a cloud of scandal and could have, should have is shocking to say the least.

But it does point to something outside this case, which is horrific enough on its own.

College football is just not what it used to be.

From scandals to academic cheating and recruitment violations, college athletics has become big business -- and a business with less and less in the scruples department.

Even some of the biggest names in the academic world, and one right here in North Carolina, have succumbed to putting winning above playing fair just to have a winning program.

It used to be that a football scholarship, or any other college athletic scholarship, helped you pay for your education. That was the purpose -- to get to college.

Now, those same "scholarships" are merely stepping stones to a chance to be seen on national television and to occupy a space on a college campus for up to four years before a pro career. Getting a degree that could be used for a career later is secondary.

And that is why you have out-of-control players with on-campus arrest records, and coaches who put protecting their program above doing what's right.

Perhaps the Penn State debacle is a warning to college athletics in general -- a sign that there are some priorities that need fixing, and soon.

Published in Editorials on November 10, 2011 11:04 AM