Unfortunately for college football in general, and Michigan State University, in particular, MSU has emulated the famed Humpty Dumpty, by plummeting to earth after tumbling off a wall. In MSU’s case, the fall was off a solid wall of good reputation. Their fall cracked, and also broke the shell of silence and containment so effectively engineered to maintain MSU’s reputation from damage by derogatory incidents over many years.
This sad state of affairs has not been child’s play to those victimized, but constitutes harsh, undeserved lifetime punishment. It is true that it is hard, if not impossible, to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. MSU may smell the stench of this mess for many years. Tarnished reputations are difficult, if not impossible, to render whole again.
But Michigan State is giving it the old college try, with the firing of the University’s president, and its noted Athletic Director and the head of their Department of Osteopathic Medicine.
Former Governor John Engler is now in charge of the restoring MSU’s reputation. Some feel he has not, in the past, been a special friend of academia. He has been, and remains a most astute politician and stellar Spartan. He appears to be an ally of Ingham County’s Prosecuting Attorney who is charged with an investigation of the scandal(s). Some say Engler has endorsed him for Governor. Some victims and others have noted this with concern. In any case, it is certain he has the best interests of MSU at heart at all times.
Much of the student body and faculty seem on the right page regarding the situation.
I don’t think that Coach Izzo and Coach D’Antonio will be fired as so many Spartan fans fear, but they may have to put up with enduring questions for the rest of their careers. That is not an important question at issue here.
The most important issue is that the anti-victim culture, so long maintained and nurtured in East Lansing, supposedly for the benefit of MSU, be eliminated for the benefit of MSU. The dysfunctional MSU Board of Trustees needs to be addressed.
Can this kind of mess happen at any University? Of course. Sexual transgressions are part of humankind, but coverups of such activity intensifies the damage to individuals and institutions, as MSU is learning, and as PSU learned earlier. Too many under age, helpless and unfortunate victims have also learned. This stuff can be nipped in the bud if there is maintained in a community a culture of sensitivity to victims, and openness. Silence is not always as golden as advertised.
Sadly, for Michigan State, a comparison to the Penn State’s Sandusky scandal readily comes to the minds of many people. How can one tell which was worse? In terms of ruined lives, ruined University reputations, and eventual institution dollar costs, they are both horrific. Cover-ups spell disaster.