Thursday, November 10, 2011

Will the Penn State Football Fallout Affect the Hockey Program?

By Andrew Gerbosi

This is not as much of a posting as it is an honest question.  I am not going start throwing out my opinions of what has happened over the course of the last week in State College, Penn., but with an athletic director vacancy at Penn State, there are going to be questions about the other sports programs being affected by the chaos.  Will the events that have occurred in the football program shine a negative light on just that sport or all of the teams at the University?  Would you, as a parent, send your child to play a sport at that school (excluding football)?  Would you, as a prospective student, want to commit to play a sport at Penn State (again, excluding football)?  The rioting did not make the current student population look great to anyone coming into or considering playing for any Nittany Lions' program.  How long before Penn State can restore their image?

From a hockey stand point, will the new AD be as supporting of the new hockey program as the previous one was?   How will the new recruits want to come to Penn State now? There is so much potential for other programs to be ignored with all of the financial problems that lie ahead.  And what about Terry Pegula, the main financial supporter of the PSU hockey program.  Will he still be willing to help get this program moving forward in the future?  Here is his statement, as per Sean Leahy of Yahoo! Sports:
Terry Pegula statement on PSU:

“The events that are unfolding at Penn State University are deeply troubling and a matter of great concern to me and my wife Kim. As many have expressed, our primary concern is for the individuals and families who may have been victimized.”

“Penn State's reputation has been severely tarnished. We are encouraged to see the University trustees have begun the process of restoring integrity and trust in the institution. This process will take a period of time and trust will need to be re-earned as a result of these recent disclosures.”

“Penn State is supported by millions of students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators. Our own support for Penn State and its hockey program is well known and will continue. We expect the University will carry out its educational mission with high standards and integrity.”
I can say for myself that when I was looking at schools to attend, Penn State was my second choice behind my Alma Mater, Deleware.  The storied athletics programs were attractive to me, not as an athlete, but as a sports fan.  Enrollment rises at colleges and universities that play in the Final Four or National Championship games in major sports.  My guess is that an event like this will result in a decrease in enrollment.  Who actually wants to be part of a rebuilding process and potential legal aftermath involved with this?  ESPN just aired an interview with Mike Paul, the Reputation Doctor, as I am typing this up (I will link it here if it becomes available).  The negative image and connotation with "Penn State" is going to reach much farther and last longer than anyone expects.

The very next interview was with a student at Penn State.  She discussed the "student" view of the situation, and when asked about the atmosphere at the game vs. Nebraska this weekend, she brought up some interesting possibilities.  One was that students may wear blue in honor of the victims of the scandal instead of following along with the planned white out, but the other was much more intriguing.  She mentioned that some students are trying to organize and have everyone sit down during a specific line of the alma mater.  The line says it all.
May no act of ours bring shame - The Penn State Alma Mater

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