I don’t think there’s anyone who has followed Penn State’s football program closely who doubts that Joe Paterno ran it with all the iron-fisted panache of a banana republic dictator-of-the-month. We know that Joe had his own justice system for his players, better known as “Joe’s Doghouse”, and that he resented the intrusion of outside entities, even the university. A Wall Street Journal article brings this behavior to the fore for the rest of the world.
Occasionally, Joe would throw the student legal affairs organization a crumb or two, usually with troublemakers he was ready to get rid of; however, good players who got in scrapes with the law were kept away from the real world criminal justice system as much as possible. Joe would speak of the former as if it was business as usual, “I dunno. It’s up to legal affairs to sort that out. Next question.” The latter? Well, he handled them his way and played it close to the vest.
The WSJ article details a power struggle between Penn State’s former chief disciplinarian Dr. Vicky Tripony and Paterno, replete with copies of emails. I don’t suppose I need to tell you who won.
I do not think this type of behavior by a head coach is unusual in big-money Division I programs. Once again, it’s follow the money.
As much as faculty might whine about Penn State being a university with a football team, they’re engaging in fantastical daydreams; Penn State is a football team with a university.
How the hell did it get that way? Follow the money.