Penn State Football

Penn State Scandal: Rodney Erickson Will Fail at Redefining Face of University

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Penn State Interim President Rodney Erickson speaks during a press conference at the Nittany Lion Inn, November 11, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Erickson announced that Penn State Assistant Coach Mike McQueary, who was a witness to former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly abusing a 10-year-old boy in the shower in 2002, will be placed on administrative leave.   (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Kyle VassaloFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2011

Given the negative light the heinous actions of those involved in the Penn State football program have cast upon the entire university, newly anointed president Rodney Erickson is understandably but foolishly suggesting that the athletic programs a college puts forth shouldn't define the school in its entirety.

Erickson wants the face of the program to be a "world class research institute," according to Kevin Johnson and Kelly Whiteside of USA Today.

For years, Penn State was seen as a football powerhouse. Their squeaky-clean and dominant image portrayed the university in a positive light, so it was beneficial for the school to associate themselves with their football program.

Now that the football program has brought the entire university to its knees, Erickson wants people to recognize Penn State for their outstanding academic standing, as that is essentially what should define a school, but his attempts are futile.

When you think Harvard, you think of academia. When you think of Duke, you think of basketball. Penn State is, and will always be, a football school.

Rather than trying to redefine the image of the university, Erickson needs to do everything in his power to get the football program back to its former glory.

The scandal has left an irremovable black eye on the program, but cleaning house and recreating the image of their football team is the only way Penn State can move on past this scandal.

Most of those not connected to the university do not care about Penn State's progress as a research institute.

Academic success won't convince the public that Penn State is back. The football team getting back to winning and doing so the right way is the only way for them to ditch the negative image they're currently exuding.

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