In recent weeks disturbing reports have rocked two storied athletic programs. Joe Paterno has been fired as head football coach at Penn State after one of the longest, most successful coaching careers in college history. Several weeks later Syracuse University, considered a premier basketball program, was rocked by a similar scandal. Assistant Coach Bernie Fine was fired after what has been reported to be the longest continuous tenure as an assistant coach in the same program. These two storied programs have had their reputations changed for the foreseeable future.Â Despite all their accomplishments and their formerly stellarÂ reputations, each man’s legacy will be indelibly tainted by the actions he took, or in Paterno’s case failed to take, in the latter part of his career.
These incidents are a stark reminder of how quickly everything we have worked toward can be changed. One stupid decision, one compromise of our integrity, one choice based on expediency rather than morality can undo an entire career. Which is why our goal should be to finish well.