Penn State could sully inaugural Big Ten Football Championship

November 21, 2011
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You have to wonder how many Big Ten and Indianapolis tourism officials will be rooting hard for Wisconsin this weekend when the Badgers play Penn State at Madison.

The Big Ten this year is rolling out its inaugural football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium Dec. 3, and if Penn State beats the Badgers Nov. 26, PSU will be packing its bags for Indy.

And instead of talking about a new tradition in a spiffy stadium and all the upgrades to Indy’s downtown and the upcoming Super Bowl, much of the national media will be focused on the scandal plagued Nittany Lions football program.

No, the PSU players shouldn’t be vilified for past transgressions of now deposed coaches and administrators. But we’re not talking about what’s fair.

We’re talking about the reality that Penn State’s inclusion is sure to take much of the attention away from the game and the city hosting it, and putting it squarely on the allegations swirling around Jerry Sandusky, the team’s former assistant coach, and the recently fired head coach Joe Paterno.

Michigan State already has the other spot for the Big Ten football championship game locked up, and the Spartans are sure to become more of a footnote in this game if the Lions prevail this weekend. I'm sure many cringed as Penn State moved to 6-1 and took sole possession of first place in the Leaders Division with a 20-14 victory over Ohio State on Saturday.

More than a few Indianapolis tourism officials have been rooting for Wisconsin for months. Few college football fan bases travels better and spend more dollars on the road than the Badger faithful. But this isn't merely about economic impact.

With new people still coming forward accusing Sandusky of unspeakable acts and an assistant coach in hiding from fear of death threats, the cloud over Penn State isn't going away anytime soon. Some think Penn State’s involvement would sully the event and stain the inaugural game forever.

With Penn State playing for the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis, public demonstrations would certainly be a possibility. There’s no shortage of people nationwide who think Penn State should shut down its football program until this mess is sorted out. And when the stage is bigger and the spotlight burns brighter, protesters are more likely to appear.

Several members of the national media as well as child advocacy groups have already called for PSU to forgo a bowl game this year. Some sources within college athletics have said no bowl game organizers want Penn State as part of their game.

None of what is written here is meant to diminish the seriousness of what has allegedly happened within the PSU program. Clearly getting all the facts straight and helping any victims is the top priority.

It’s just that I’m sure Big Ten officials in Chicago as well as those charged with building Indianapolis’ brand through top-flight sports events would rather that this mess get scrutinized and sorted out in State College, not Indianapolis.

  • Title hopes did not depend on the OSU game.
    "I'm sure many cringed as Penn State kept its title hopes alive " All that was needed regardless is a win at Wisconsin.

    "More than a few Indianapolis tourism officials have been rooting for Wisconsin for months. Few college football fan bases travels better and spend more dollars on the road than the Badger faithfull*

    more so then PSU?..really?
  • you don't want us?
    I'm sure you'll be wiping your wimpy midwestern tears with dollar bills when the might PSU horde invades your puny little "city". Thanks for the bulletin board material. Not like the PSU team didn't already have an "Us vs. The World" mentality.
  • Ignorant
    This media witch hunt is getting ridiculous. The PSU team, those young men, have done NOTHING wrong and to imply that their presence in the championship game would "sully" anything is disrespectful and ignorant.

    Also, PSU travels far more and better than any of the pathetic Big 10 clique.

    It's funny, since PSU joined the conference that didn't really want them they've been hated. Now, you and your ilk are using a tragedy to pile on. Disgraceful.

    The midwest needs to get over itself.
  • Its not about Indianapolis
    I see your point, however this title game is not about the city--it's about the two teams that worked their tails off to be there. If Penn State fights their way to that game, they absolutely deserve to be there. If a city deides to host an event like this, then they accept whatever teams come. Also, as the original commenter posted, the Ohio State game had no bearing on the Nittany Lion's type run. Perhaps this is more sensational journalism at work--writing without knowing facts.
  • Eh?
    Indianapolis is simply the city that is holding the Big Ten Championship game. I'm not sure you realize the size of the PSU Alumni within the if not the largest...they travel well and at a time like this support the team even more. Why must the media hold such a negative spin on a team filled with kids that have nothing to do with the alleged allegations? Excellent bulletin board material...keep up the great work...
  • Really?
    "There’s no shortage of people nationwide who think Penn State should shut down its football program until this mess is sorted out. And when the stage is bigger and the spotlight burns brighter, protesters are more likely to appear." There's also no shortage of people that think the media is fanning the flames in order to keep selling papers and tv sets tuned in.

  • Public Enemy No 1
    Wasn't John Dillinger From Indianapolis. Should we hold or judge everyone from Indianapolis accordingly
    • shame on you
      I read the IBJ articles daily and as a Indy resident & Penn State fan shame on you for such an article. It is incredible to me how 1 awful person has lead the lovely media to try and distort and ruin a great university's reputation. It is very unfair also to punish the current players for acts a former coach did almost 10 years ago. I will be rooting hard for Penn State (and I hope others will as well) for them to get to Indianapolis and I will proudly represent the PSU faithful at Lucas Oil Stadium if they get there. Go Lions
    • Sully who
      "Sully the event and stain the inagural game forever"--such silliness.

      I guess it worked--the only reason i can see for your article is to enflame the situation and get someone to read your article.

      Keep piling on and never forget to add your afterthought that you are "concerned" about the victims.

    • When did Indy become pretentious?
      C'mon... that city hasn't seen anyone in blue and white win all year!
    • The "team" did nothing wrong
      I have never had anything to do with Penn State. I did not attend a Big Ten school. I did, however, play high school football. All that said, why would ANYONE even think of shutting down the football team - for any amount of time? The team consists of college kids who knew nothing and did nothing wrong. Why are they to suffer for the terrible sins of others?
    • Perhaps not the best idea...
      While the sentiment and worry is certainly out there, publishing this article may not have been the best idea. As a host city, it's on us to roll out the red carpet for whomever earns the right to be in the game, even if that team was the 1987 Miami Hurricanes. (A joke, Miami fans :)) While the IBJ has no obligation to the visiting fans and tourists, the rest of us hope to allow them to enjoy their stay. Now that this article is in the ether, that's going to be very difficult if PSU wins this game.
    • Spiffy? Indianapolis?
      You are an idiot.
    • Great Chance for out City
      I agree with most of the comments in support of the Penn State players. AS's comment is just a perspective and a valid one. I believe as PSU has shown in the last 2 games and as Nebraska and OSU fans showed, there is compassion for what these kids are going through as a result of some very poor judgment on the part of some coaches and administrators. If PSU beats the Badgers, how can we ALL turn this awful event into a positive by showing the good side of humanity and sports?
    • Indianapolis
      You guys are really taking yourself far too serious to think of ramifications to your city. Trust me, nobody who doesn't live in Indianapolis cares one way or the other about the city. It's not a major city. Penn State is a major research oriented university that has always extolled doing things the right way. That's part of the reason why this situation is so offensive to all of us who have Penn State ties. Sandusky is one selfish narcissistic individual who targeted little boys. May he rot in hell! The rest of it is open to speculation. Don't denigrate a great and caring institution. Trust me, we will be the hardest on ourselves. We will get to the bottom and punish those who facilitated the obscenities of this one individual.
    • You Just Don't Get It!
      Will people ever understand that this is not a football issue? It has nothing to do with the football team. I guess it’s so toxic that everything around it gets enveloped.
      Mike C
    • Blame the D.A.
      Sandusky was sent into retirement after the District Attorney investigation in 1998. He left the football team over a decade ago. The district attorney failed to bring charges in 1998 and 2000. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was slow to take action as a prosecutor and university trustee. The Second Mike didn't ban Sandusky until 2008. The only thing sullying Penn State is your ignorance of the facts.
    • PSU Fans Myopic
      PSU fans just don't get it. Tough to hear, but your University hid child molestation they knew about ON THE CAMPUS.

      JoPa hid child molestation he knew about IN HIS LOCKERROOM.

      Mike McQueary saw the child molestation with HIS OWN EYES AND DIDN'T EVEN STOP IT.

      Jerry Sandusky ran a children's charity and USED IT OVER THE YEARS AS HIS VERY OWN CHILD DATING SERVICE.

      Yea - but you guys are right. Nothing to see here...move along.

      SHAME on PSU, JoPa, McQuery, Sandusky, and all the rest of you that think Penn St has no resposibility in allowing the REPEATED AND SICK ABUSE OF CHILDREN IN THEIR FACILITIES AND BY THEIR FACULTY.

      If character is defined by what people do when no one is looking you people from PSU need to straighten up...the whole world is watching and you're failing miserably.
    • Moronic hypocrites one and all
      Wow! Look at all of the people that come on here to complain about Penn State being labeled with a broad brush and punished based on the actions of a few men, but then they insult this wonderful and friendly city based on the comments from ONE writer (who's probably not even from Indy). Moronic hypocrisy -thy name is Penn State Fan.
    • duster
      I know that you do not want to sully your towns reputation by mentioning that there are more that 1400 registered sex offenders living there.

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