WUOMFM

Penn State

MSU Belmont Tower
EMMA WINOWIECKI / Michigan Radio

This week, an article in The Atlantic blasted Michigan State University for its handling of nearly every aspect of the Larry Nassar scandal. Nassar is the former MSU physician who sexually abused girls and young women despite complaints that date back to 1997. The article focused on how MSU is “botching its reputation rehab.”

One of the experts interviewed for the article is Jeff Hunt. He is a partner and co-founder of PulsePoint Group and the author of the book, Brand Under Fire: A New Playbook for Crisis Management in the Digital Age.

Larry Nassar in court with his attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

USA Gymnastics’ top board members have resigned. Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon is being pressured to resign. And there are calls for reviews and investigations into how a sports doctor could sexually abuse girls and women for so long, while no one was aware or willing to speak up.

How could these adults and these institutions fail so many children?

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are inadvertently benefiting from sanctions handed down against Penn State today.  

When an 85-year old man dies, you cannot call it a tragedy.  Sad, yes, but tragic, no.  

But Joe Paterno’s passing might be an exception.  Born in Brooklyn in 1926, he enrolled at Brown University, where he played quarterback. He still holds a school record -- for interceptions -- with 14. 

After graduating, Paterno was supposed to go to law school, but instead followed his coach, Rip Engle, to Penn State.  

His father was beside himself.  “For God’s sake, what did you go to college for?”  That was 1950.  62 years later, that’s where Joe Paterno died. 

user audreyjm529 / Flickr

College football coaches are far from the richest people in sports, but they could be the most powerful.  That might seem far-fetched, but not to the disciples of Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, and Tom Osborne, among others, who rose to become almost spiritual leaders at their schools.   

At University of Michigan President James Duderstadt’s retirement banquet in 1996, he said being president wasn’t easy, but it came with some nice perks.  He even got to meet the man thousands of people considered God.  “No,” he said, “not Bo Schembechler, but the Dalai Lama.”