Scandal has rocked the Penn State community as Jerry Sandusky, the past assistant football coach of the Nittany Lions, has been accused of child molestation. Also alarming is that head coach Joe Paterno may have known. Although students continue to support Paterno, he seems to have failed to report Sandusky to authorities after no action was taken by Tim Curley, Penn State’s athletic director (Bennett, 2011).

            How can students continue to support Paterno when he failed to do everything in his power to protect his athletes from Sandusky? As the leader of a university football program, Paterno has an obligation to look out for his athletes, who at times would have been under Sandusky’s direct supervision. As Paterno is the head of the Lions, perhaps students are confusing support of the program with support of its leader. However, if Paterno leaves, the football team will remain largely in tack. Although I appreciate the impact a strong leader can have on a team, it is not as though coaches never transfer teams or retire. And once a leader looses the trust of his players, how can he effectively lead? And unless the Lions are able to overlook that Paterno was willing to sacrifice their wellbeing, how can they agree to be led? Even if trust has not been lost in Paterno, I doubt that it has not been shaken. Just because Paterno has been an effective leader in the past does not mean that he will be, or can, in the future. The power to lead is not a given, it’s earned, and Paterno’s may be lost.


Bennett, B. (2011, November 9). Students show support for Joe Paterno. Retrieved from m/college-football/story/_/id/7210030/penn-state-nittany-lions-coach-joe-paterno-receives-students-support