The Jerry Sandusky child molestation case stunned the nation. As subsequent revelations uncovered an athletic program operating free of oversight, university officials faced criminal charges while unprecedented NCAA sanctions hammered Penn State football and blackened the reputation of coach Joe Paterno. In Wounded Lions , acclaimed sport historian and longtime Penn State professor Ronald A. Smith draws from university archives to answer the How? and Why? at the heart of the scandal. The Sandusky case was far from the first example of illegal behavior related to the football program--or the university's attempts to suppress news of it. As Smith shows, decades of infighting among administrators, alumni, trustees, faculty, and coaches established policies intended to protect the university, and the football team considered synonymous with its name, at all costs. If the habits predated Paterno, they also became sanctified during his tenure. Smith names names to show how abuses of power warped the "Penn State Way" even with hires like women's basketball coach Rene Portland, who allegedly practiced sexual bias against players for decades. Smith also details a system that concealed Sandusky's horrific acts just as deftly as it whitewashed years of rules violations, coaching malfeasance, and player crime while Paterno set records and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the university.
A distinguished Penn State sport historian gives us an intriguing account of his institution's athletics history and daunting journey through a period of national humiliation in well-chosen, research-guided language that holds the reader's interest start to finish.--Joe Crowley, former president, NCAA
"With exhaustive primary source exploration and riveting exposition, superimposed on an examination of Penn State as a fulcrum, Ron Smith examines the 'real controllers' of college sport ”university presidents, boards of regents, and alumni ”each of which over time have tended to separate college athletics from an institution ™s intended academic purpose, and, as well, cast institutions into scandals of immense proportion, of which the Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky case thrust Penn State ™s Happy Valley utopia into an abyss of staggering anguish and disbelief."--Bob Barney, author of Selling the Five Rings: The IOC and the Rise of Olympic Commercialism
"Smith thoroughly documents decades of events that led to the Sandusky abuse of children. Smith's detailed history of sports administration at Penn State illustrates how the abuse evolved and was ignored in a cloud of conflicting priorities. The reader wonders what kept the individuals in power from not responding sooner and appropriately."--John Swisher, Professor Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University