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 #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.”
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon