According to a report authored by Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who conducted an investigation for Penn State University in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, and other university leaders, “repeatedly concealed facts” from proper authorities in the Sandusky case.
The report also found that while concern by university officials to treat Sandusky humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were expressed by university officials, including Paterno, for Sandusky’s victims.
Additionally, the report says that five boys were assaulted by Sandusky on university property after officials knew about a 1998 criminal investigation.
Freeh concluded that the primary cause of the university’s failure was a desire to avoid bad publicity. Other contributing factors to the university-wide breakdown included:
- A striking lack of empathy for child abuse victims.
- Lack of oversight by the board of trustees.
- “A president who discouraged discussion and dissent.”
- Ignorance of child abuse issues and laws.
- A football program that had opted out of university programs and training on reporting requirements.
- “A culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community.”
While the Penn State situation is unique relative to other big-time college sports factories due to the child sex abuse involved in this case, it’s not unique in areas such as 1) lack of presidential and/or board of trustees oversight regarding the football program in particular, and athletic department in general; 2) sponsoring a football program that operates by its own set of rules relative to others on campus; and 3) having “a culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community.”
Apart from the tragic child sex abuse findings, the details of the Penn State case provide more evidence that too many of our major universities have warped priorities when it comes to academics and athletics on campus.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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