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Psu Scandal

In: Business and Management

Submitted By miller2022
Words 1140
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This paper will delve into the scandal that took the sports world by storm and led to a number of firings and lawsuits by both athletic coaches and even a president of a college university. The former Defensive Coordinator at Penn State Jerry Sandusky was accused and convicted of sexual abuse of multiple minors. This tragedy, better known as the Jerry Sandusky scandal, showcased a number of mistakes made by high ranking officials within Penn State University along with the former Head Football coach and former leader in wins at the NCAA level. Not only was there a lack of institutional control on behalf of the Head Coach, Athletic Director, and president, there were also a number of signs that were ignored. There are a number of theories as to why this scandal became what it was. Did it become this way due to employees fear repercussion for uncovering the truth? Or perhaps the culture was so controlled by a 85 year old Head Football Coach? The goal of this paper is to look at the facts presented in the case discover what truly led to the downfall of one of the most well-known NCAA Football programs in history.

In 2011, news began to break of a disturbing incident that had taken place at one of the most well-known universities in the nation. Former Penn State University Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing a number of young boys while employed by the university as well as after his retirement. In an even more disturbing and puzzling series of events, it was discovered that a majority of the eight boys that Jerry Sandusky had been accused of abusing had been molested on the campus of Penn State University. The deeper the story went, the more prevalent it was that a true lack of institutional control was present and that more than just Jerry Sandusky had been involved in covering up these heinous crimes. After the initial shock over the events that had occurred, more details would come out showing negligence by the Head Football Coach Joe Paterno, Athletic Director Tim Curley, Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Gary Schultz, and University President Graham Spanier. There was a tremendous lack of Organizational behavior existent at the time this scandal was made known, as well as years prior to the public’s knowledge of the monster known as Jerry Sandusky.
Major Points/Arguments
There was a true lack of leadership present throughout the tenure of Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier in regards to the sex scandal at Penn State University. The first sign of negligence and failed leadership by the above mentioned men occurred in 2002 after then Graduate Assistant coach Mike McQueary walked into the Lasch Football Building at Penn State and witnessed Jerry Sandusky “having sex with a young boy in the showers” (Chappell). McQueary then reported this incident to Joe Paterno the next day. The following day, Joe Paterno then reported the incident to the Athletic Director Tim Curley the following day, and then both Tim Curley and VP Gary Schultz met with McQueary ten days later (Chappell). This clearly defines what can be described as a lack of leadership due to the fact that a span of ten days or more had gone by since the sexual abuse was reported, yet there had been no arrest made and no consequences had been handed down on Jerry Sandusky. Although there were seven other victims identified in the case against Jerry Sandusky, this one incident directly shows the Organizational Behaviors that were both lacking and prevalent at Penn State. The Organizational Behavior that was prevalent during the Penn State scandal is that of Power and Politics, and how such power led to the downfall of an entire university. It was clearly evident in every piece of literature discussing the Jerry Sandusky scandal that a group of men who were in power at the university, abused this power and let it hinder their decision making. Although the events were reported at first to the proper people by assistant coach Mike McQueary, he later claimed that fear of losing his job as reason for not going to law enforcement with knowledge of the sexual abuse that the university had simply ignored. This fear also existed for other Penn State employees who had witnessed the sexual abuse of underage boys by Jerry Sandusky. A Janitor by the name of Jim Calhoun reported to his supervisor in 2000 that he had seen Sandusky in the shower with an underage boy. Both McQueary and Calhoun failed to take their eye witness accounts to law enforcement due to fear of losing their job, which is known as Coercive Power (Robbins & Judge). Perhaps it is also possible that the Athletic Director Vice President of Finance and Business felt that the power did not lie with them, but rather with NCAA Footballs all-time wins leader Head Coach Joe Paterno. It is possible that Joe Paterno’s superiors were persuaded by his political skills. According to Organizational Behavior 16th Edition, Political Skill “is the ability to influence others to enhance their own objectives…political skill also appears more affective when the stakes are high-such as when the individual is accountable for important organizational outcomes” (Robbins & Judge). According to the Freeh Report, which was an independent investigation done by the Former Director of the FBI at the request of Penn State, “four of the most powerful men at The Pennsylvania State University- President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno- failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade” (Freeh).
There were a number of opportunities for each for mentioned men at Pennsylvania State University to not only solve the problems that had occurred but prevent future incidents from occurring. In order to eliminate the power and politics that were clearly abused by all parties involved, the leaders at Pennsylvania State University should have put a premium on employing good people to lead the football program rather than someone with a win at all costs mentality. Although Joe Paterno had been the leader in wins and the longest tenured head football coach in the NCAA, if his superiors had made a concerted effort to be around the program and see how things were being handled it could have prevented him from gaining the power he did. Also, the athletic director and president perhaps could have been vetted more extensively prior to being hired by the university. A more in depth background check process and a battery of tests could have been performed to see how these individuals would handle tough situations.

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