OU Professor Says Culture Change Is Needed In Wake Of Penn State Scandal

By
Cheri Russo

Dateline
Updated Fri, Nov 11, 2011 8:15 am

A sports administration professor at Ohio University says the situation at Penn State points to a needed culture change in intercollegiate athletics.

"This is symptomatic of intercollegiate athletics, where many practice situational morality, where often winning, revenue generation and the Brand stand in the way of the truth and doing the right thing," says Dave Ridpath.

Former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period.

Longtime coach Joe Paterno and school President Graham Spanier were fired Wednesday night and charges are pending against athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz for allegedly failing to report a 2002 incident involving Sandusky.

Ridpath says the decision to fire Paterno was the right thing to do and it was necessary.

"Paterno could have stopped this cold and he simply chose not to," says Ridpath. "In short, those with great power have great responsibility."

Ridpath says there was very little leadership in the Penn State situation until last night.

"This is a case of misplaced priorities and where, as a society, we have to look in the mirror and wonder how we got to a point where protecting an image and an icon took precedence over the safety of children," says Ridpath. "Information was known and the proper action was not taken."

Ridpath says university sports programs are not the most important part of a university and he hopes this situation is the catalyst for change.

"A culture change and a leadership change was needed at Penn State, but more than anything we need a culture change overall in intercollegiate athletics and realize at the end of the day, it is not the most important part of a university, even with such a storied program as PSU," says Ridpath.
 

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