I read Charles Clotfelter’s very thoughtful, data-rich, book about college sports (mostly football, of course) this weekend. It has a whole chapter reflecting on the extraordinary manifestations of fan loyalty to this or that team, including lifetime allegiance beginning not just as an undergrad but at birth and imbued by family, and some confusion between who you are and what team you root for, but he never works out the parallel with religion.
The NY Times, however, connects the dots in its review of the slimy trail of denial, coverup, and malfeasance (it’s illegal not to report sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement in Pennsylvania) right up to the President’s office, that prosecutors found when they looked under the rock at Penn State.
Not to worry; the football program is not at risk, indeed, the team moved up four places in the rankings this weekend despite the awkward news. The bishop, formally titled president of the university, rushed to declare his support of the indicted AD and VP for administration and will pay their legal bills, and the revered pope of the Penn State church (not indicted, even though he seems to have known about the problem and done the least he could about it), offers a little homily to the faithful:
I understand that people are upset and angry, but let’s be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime, I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are.