Pitt and Penn State are scheduled to play a home-and-home pair of football games in 2016 and 2017. A possible thaw in the long-standing stalemate in what was once a great annual rivalry game. Add in the fact that the Big 10-Pac-12 annual cross-over plan that was scheduled to begin in 2017 has now fallen through. Well, you could make a pretty good case that Pitt and Penn State might actually be able to resume the annual in-state rivalry game.
This home-and-home came about before the Penn State cover-up of the Sandusky molestations came to light. A cover-up to protect the image of the football program at Penn State. Now, Penn State is promising reforms. Changes, in no small part from the recommendations of the Freeh Report. But as Dan Wolken notes, how can there be real change when Penn State begins their new season in seven weeks?
That creates a question for Pitt and Pitt fans. Should we still want Pitt and Penn State to meet in football? Do we want to play a program where the leaders so willingly betrayed its self-righteous ideals to protect the image of itself. That it not only hid a pedophile right within in its midst, it gave license the beast to continue to use his relationship with Penn State football to bring in more boys to victimize.
I saw it posed in the comments. I’ve been in discussion thread with friends. I don’t have a good answer.
I grew up on the Pitt-Penn State game, as did many of you. It’s something we’ve long wanted back. But now? After this?
The game is still four years away. Maybe real changes are affected at Penn State. Maybe they confront the actual horrors and take ownership of their culpability and culture that created this and do something about it.
But what if they don’t? What if they compartmentalize it. Rationalize it as being others who did it. That it could happen anywhere, and that they are being unfairly maligned by haters. Avoid the responsibility and the real changes. What then?
By playing them are we just one more part of the culture that puts football ahead of all else.
Rather than just discuss in the comments here’s a blunt instrument to take the temperature.