The sports media have moved on from the scandals at Penn State. There are new shiny athletes to worship (Tebow) or tingly scandals to inhale (was a drug dealer on the Chicago Bears roster?) or even other “scandals” at Penn State (locker room fight knocks out quarterback!). Meanwhile, the trial of Penn State coaching legend Jerry Sandusky continues with a sports radio yawn and a far dimmer spotlight. And yet, in a SportsWorld where the media floss with the line that separates public relations and journalism, the happenings at Penn State require our collective vigilance. It matters not only because of the heinous nature of Sandusky’s crimes. It matters because it’s a story about how Big Football, together with the Cult of Coach, created a company town in Happy Valley as venal as Homestead, Matewan, Ludlow or any of this country’s corners colonized by robber barons a century ago. It matters because these university company towns dot the national landscape, living by their own rules.
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