Intriguing matchups are looming as this Sunday the Bowls select participants in their bowl games. A few have leaked out and look interesting. But one school, due to a scandal, is a controversial pick. Should Penn State back out or go through with a possible invite?
There is split reaction on this. Depending on who you speak with you get a different answer. It’s understandable why some bowl games are leery of inviting the kind of attention Penn State will bring to the community. It’s easier to go with a safer story than to tempt incrimination.
The players on the Penn State football team deserve a bowl game. What happened at the University was not their fault. But they are guilty by association. Yet should the sins of the few be cast upon the many? It’s not easy to cast judgment on 100 kids in school that were caught by surprise in October just like everyone else.
The best case scenario would have been for Penn State to impose a bowl ban. Make things easy on everyone. But that action would be opposed to how Penn State has been handling this situation. It seems everything they have done makes things harder on the school. This decision is the same.
When deciding a bowl ban, the school has to put themselves into the position of the players attending. The story won’t be who they are playing. The abuse is the story. No matter how much the players and coaches divert back to the game, the interviews will revert. Remember the story has been nationally reported, but it has stayed inside the city limits of Happy Valley. This will be the first chance outside of Pennsylvania for reporters to ask question, and on a national stage.
“If our student-athletes have earned the right to play, they should be allowed to do so,” Newly appointed Penn State President Rod Erickson told reporters. This is the message Penn State wants to send.
Is a football game more important than life? More important than what is happening at Penn State? That is the dilemma the school finds themselves in.
Bowl committees have other aspects to worry about. The Fiesta Bowl runs the Insight Bowl, the game most feel Penn State might be headed to. That doesn’t seem possible when you listen to Robert Shelton, Executive Director of the Fiesta Bowl.
“Any bowl that takes Penn State will have to be aware of the media that surrounds it and take that into consideration. That’s not the only consideration of course. They’re a very good team on the field and the players have earned the right to play in a bowl. We’re still looking at all scenarios.”
Some Fiesta Bowl officials see the Nittany Lions’ as a losing option. They believe Penn State is not worth the disruption caused. There will be protests at the bowl game and the area, child abuse survivors will be cast about. It’s not something your city would want. Another team would put on the same show and not bring the baggage.
Currently Penn State is a piranha. Something to stay away from because the bite might be fatal. The piranha doesn’t know how dangerous he can be. Someone needs to tell them.