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Missteps at Every Turn
DAVID EPSTEIN
November 28, 2011
Efforts to clean up Penn State reveal how deep the institutional problems lie
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November 28, 2011

Missteps At Every Turn

Efforts to clean up Penn State reveal how deep the institutional problems lie

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"It seems like the people they're bringing in are from a pool they pretty much know," observes Matt Paknis, a leadership-development consultant who served as a Penn State football grad assistant in 1987 and '88. Paknis also coached at Brown and Rhode Island and says that neither program required the sort of blanket submissiveness to leadership that he saw at Penn State. "I don't see how there can be really effective change there unless you bring in completely new blood, clear out anybody who has an affiliation with [Paterno]."

Even as Penn State's faculty senate called on Friday for an independent review of the university's actions in the Sandusky case, and Frazier announced the appointment on Monday of former FBI chief Louis Freeh to head Penn State's internal investigation, and the NCAA announced that it would take up the question of institutional control in the Nittany Lions' football program, it was clear there's plenty more to be done. Rodney Erickson, who has stepped in as the school's president, is now tasked with beginning the reclamation project on a badly damaged institution. "Penn State is committed to transparency to the fullest extent possible," he wrote in a message to faculty, staff and students on Nov. 11. "I will ensure proper governance and oversight exists throughout the University, including Intercollegiate Athletics."

It is admirable sentiment. But with so many potential conflicts, one wonders, Is Penn State cleaning house? Or simply rearranging the furniture?

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