Running a top Division 1 football program is not easy, especially one like Penn State where the level of achievement on and off the field is always one of the best in the country. However, this past season was even tougher as Penn State had the added burden of the NCAA’s sanctions, the country’s misperception of the culture at Penn State and the uncertainty of the future.

All along, the NCAA, the Penn State BOT and Rod Erickson made statements and took actions in a manner that would cripple any football program and break the will of the players. You would think that our own BOT and Erickson would know better and would recognize the true character and culture of Penn Staters. You would think… Unfortunately, WE did not know the true culture of the BoT.

Well, our Penn State football players and Coach Bill O’Brien (who did a masterful job) demonstrated to the entire country “who we are” and “what we stand for.”

Against the harshest sanctions ever by the NCAA on a football program and a BOT and President who turned on them, our players and coaches exceeded all expectations and defied all odds. With so much against them, and the weight of our university on their shoulders, they played with heart, dignity and conviction and refused to be beaten down. Instead, they rose up to meet these challenges. They pulled together by encouraging one another, looking out for each other and believing in each other.

This is the true meaning of “We are Penn State” and “Success With Honor”.

61 years of tradition would not, could not, be destroyed. It was there when we needed it most. It did not desert us. It is here to stay. It personifies Penn State values, ethics, integrity, hard work and excellence.

We do not need to change who we are.
We Are Penn State! Success With Honor!

Franco Harris ‘72

9 thoughts on “Running a top Division 1 football program is not easy

  1. Thank you Franco for being there and speaking for those of us who can’t. We will never let up until the Nov 11 BOT and Erickson are history.


  2. Thank you Franco,

    You are right. The culture of the BOT was a big surprise. They acted like they had an (unjustified) inferiority complex and could not let the opportunity pass to stomp on the gifted sibling. Erickson and Preetz appear to be opportunist of the first degree ready to take credit for bringing back Penn State from where it already is. While Corbett belatedly spells out the probable motivation of the NCAA in his suite, it is the culture of the ruling elite at Penn State itself that is disheartening.

    You are correct, we do not need to change who we are, we just need to change those charged as Trustees of the family.


  3. Franco, in the same spirit of your coach, you choose principal over immediate self interest. Your loyalty to Joe is as commendable as your time on the field with PSU and the Steelers. Hopefully, many will learn from you as so many have from Joe. The ESPN, SI, and CNN turncoats are a disgrace, not to mention the BOT and PSU administrators who rolled over to the media witch hunt rather than defend our school.


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