Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Fourth and Long: The Fight For the Soul of College Football" Excerpt

Fouad Egbaria

A little late on this one, but the Wall Street Journal published an excerpt from John U. Bacon's forthcoming book, "Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football." Here is an excerpt from the excerpt, focusing on Penn State (the book also covers Michigan, Ohio State and Northwestern):
On July 23, 2012, Penn State's football players gathered in their lounge to watch on television as NCAA president Mark Emmert walked to the podium for a news conference.
Eight months earlier, prosecutors had arrested Penn State's former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on 40 criminal counts, including the sexual assault of several boys over a 15-year period, one of them in the showers of Penn State's football building. Within three months of Sandusky's arrest, Penn State trustees released their president, a senior vice president and their Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno, who died soon afterward. The athletic director also ultimately lost his job. Then a report commissioned by the university found that those leaders knew enough of what Sandusky had done to report him to the authorities, but cared more about protecting the university's image than his victims.
Most Penn State players didn't know who Sandusky was until they saw his picture on TV. Only then did some recognize him as the "old guy who worked out here once in a while.
Elsewhere, Penn State blog Onward State has a reaction:
Bacon’s Fourth and Long goes on to explain how O’Brien, Mauti, Zordich, and some others worked to keep the team together. Mauti told a former Penn State strength coach who tried recruiting him to “go fuck himself.” The three of them, along with strength coach Craig Fitzgerald, ran their own miniature call center, spending multiple days reaching out to re-recruit every player that was considering transferring.
I'm currently taking a class taught by Bacon, and I can safely say the book will be well worth a read. Another thing to look out for this Friday:

As a soon-to-be Northwestern graduate, I will also be looking forward to the section on the Wildcats. The book will be available September 3.

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