I wanted to take a bit of a different approach, a departure from the norm if you will. You see, under normal circumstances, I would not hesitate to poke fun at unfortunate circumstances, or venture my prose out into various shades of grey in attempt to generate humor.
This week is not that time.
Over the weekend, millions of people were exposed to some the most heinous crimes that you can imagine. A sense of shock rippled across the Penn State campus, a shock that has trickled over across the nation. Many of us are asking why, how - and rightfully so. How can an institution allow such instances to occur? How would these allegations go unreported for all this time? Where are the checks and balances?
We are neither the judge nor jury, but this much is true: Under the crime of protecting and educating our future generations, the Nittany Lion administration has been found grossly negligent and guilty as charged.
As we watched the events unfold, witnessed legacies unravel like a cheap piece of fabric, we are reminded that our universities are more than just a football team, more than just a piece of the greater puzzle. Our university system was founded on the belief that they would educate, protect, and prepare young men and women for the challenges that life will throw at them.
Often times we look upon our beloved university and wonder why the backup QB is not starting, why our basketball teams cannot secure a top recruit, why our student athletes do not get paid. We forget the sole purpose of why the university is there to begin with - and with that is where priorities become backwards and lines get blurred. It is the society that we live in today. It is what money and greed have created.
Fans tuning into the game on Saturday were treated with what I thought was one of the most heartfelt and genuine displays of fellowship I have ever seen. Both teams gathered at the center of the field, Ron Brown leading the gathering in prayer as 106k fans and millions of others looked on. It was so silent you could hear a pin drop - the kind of silence that if it didn’t give you chills, then I would attest that you require life support.
As the game wore on and our Huskers held on for a narrow victory over a hard working Nittany Lion team, I could not help but think about all the lives that have been impacted by this set of circumstances, and what kind of ramifications may be in store, should our suspicions become the truth. Does the death penalty that SMU endured over 25 years ago make an unanticipated return? Will the university be able to absorb what could be over a billion dollars in lawsuits? Will anything be enough to compensate for the lifetime of hurt that some individuals have caused - the answer is no, nothing will be able to satisfy the families and individuals affected.
At the end of the day, Nebraska collected its eighth win of the season, and in turn hopefully gave members of both teams some return to normalcy - even if only for a while. Yes, our Huskers played well, Martinez is continuing to improve as a passer, and Burkhead was his usual consistent self. All of that aside, the game was much bigger than just another stop in Nebraska's inaugural run through the B1G. It hopefully was an eye-opening experience for all involved, one that makes us question our motives and ensure that we have our priorities in line.
We look to our children for our future, and if we fail them - well … I, for one, would hate to see what that future looks like.
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