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