Thinkofone's Blog

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A letter to the Penn State Football team

So the NCAA has ruled on the penalties Penn State must conform to. 60 million that has to be paid. Four years of ten less scholarships per year. No bowl games for fours years. The forfeiture of 112 wins.  And if any football player would like to transfer, he may without any penalty. This doesn’t cover the ensuing lawsuits. But, the NCAA ruled, and unconventionally, quickly.  But you have to wonder, to which I did, why would you transfer?

In a previous blog, I even suggested this case. Let the kids transfer to any school they would like, and be able to play immediately. But after the ruling was announced, and the feeding frenzy began for some of Penn State’s top players, I began to wonder, “Why would you transfer?”It would be easy to say, they shouldn’t penalized. They should be allowed to play for any institution they want to. But the question goes back to a slimy layer about NCAA division 1 football, that I’ve most recently discovered, and that is, what are you in school for? And why as a football player has a university offered you a scholarship to play football for them?

We all know why the average college student is there for. We all know why they pursue an education. To excel at a prestigious school and get a fantastic job, perhaps to start a new business.  But, why would you transfer from a school which has given you a scholarship, to play football? To answer your question, go to the Penn State athletic website, and look at what team member have majored in. I did, and found some interesting results.

After looking at many of their profiles, I was pleasantly surprised. Many had the following majors; Economics, Education, Biology, Medicine, criminal justice, etc… These are real degrees, and not a majority of students who have “decided” on majoring in kinesiology. Penn State seems to be upholding the tradition of “student athlete”. Penn State has one of the best engineering schools in the country. Ranked overall 13th for public schools in the country. Has one of the best aeronautical and aerospace engineering schools in the world. It offers top degrees in almost every field of study there is. Penn State is a very, very good school.
But for a few, the only reason why some of these young men are in school for is, football. The reason why I’m saying this is, that is what these kids were recruited and subsequently given a scholarship for. It’s not like these kids were given scholarships for bioengineering and it was suddenly discovered that they also have the athletic ability to play football at a high level. It doesn’t happen that way. Many of these kids have been groomed, since little league,  to eventually play college sports.  Silas Redd  the great Penn State running back, will more than likely transfer, but that’s my opinion. He’s currently majoring in advertising. Lane Kiffin coach of USC, has blatantly s given him the green light to come out to USC. Shame on you Kiffin,  your school is just coming off probation, and you’re already the consensus number one team in the country, the number one rated quarterback, and yet, you want more. By the way Coach Kiffin, they still have not forgiven you for dumping the University of Tennessee.

Silas may want to play in the NFL, or has been told that he’s a major prospect, which is OK.  He’s been predicted to do that since high school. He would make contract and signing bonus money. When Joe Pa recruited him, all he had to do is talk about all the great running backs that played for Penn State. The tradition, the program, the legendary coaching, and now the fallacy.

But, the point I’m trying to make is, you’re in school to get an education. The degree from Penn State means something, something bigger than being able to play football. I can understand some of the newly signed upcoming class of 2012 who opt out. They would not see a bowl game in 4 years. They would struggle to win. They would have reduced scholarships. But transferring will bring unexpected consequences for those who already attend Penn State. A new team. A new system to learn. New personalities to know and understand. Team chemistry. New classes and different degree requirements. It’s going to be hard to stay the course, and make the decision to stay, when many things point for you to leave. But that’s what I like about football, it teaches life lesson better than anything else.

To the players on the Penn State team, you have a challenging situation.  You have to look within your soul and ask some tough questions. Why do you play football? To play pro? For your educational experience? For the love of the game? For  your coach? The correct answer is for your education of course. If any other opportunities arise from there, that’s icing on the cake but it’s truly for your education. And that is one of the main reasons why you chose Penn State, you felt comfortable there. You liked your teammates. You liked the campus. You liked the opportunity. It’s just an unfortunate situation about its coach. A coach is very similar to a preacher. He gives great and inspiring speeches. He leads by example for most part. He nurtures, guides, gives you advice, and can also discipline you if need be. But, there is one fatal flaw in the preacher as well as a coach. They are a man. And, as a man, they are not infallible. They are held to a higher standard because once they are placed in a leaderships position, they can be charismatic, and people will follow them to the bitter end, even when they are wrong. The preacher/coach and you have one thing in common…. You both failed the garden of Eden test. Otherwise, the coach wouldn’t be here, and neither would you. The one thing football can teach you is do your best and when your best is not enough, then know your measure, and you have to go back to the drawing board, and work harder. Staying would be the best for some, leaving may be the best for others. But my advice is stay at your school, you chose it for more than just football, and if you can help it rise up out of these difficult times, and that gentlemen takes teamwork….

Peace…

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2012 by in Sports and tagged , , .
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