Free Penn State Critical Thinking Sample

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Coach, Teamwork, Team, Students, Education, University, Head, Sports

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/11

Executive summary

The Penn state child sex abuse scandal was a scandal involving the Penn state university football team. The defensive coach and assistant team coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of molesting young boys for a period of over three decades. Sandusky established a charity called the second mile, through which he had access to young vulnerable boys who he molested. The scandal broke in 2011 which led to the implication of some university officials including the Penn state football team head coach Joe Paterno. There were questions of ethics and morality regarding how the officials handled the case.


The research focuses on the actions of the head coach of the team, Joe Paterno and his handling of the case. The Penn state case is very important because it shows how respected figures can be morally and ethically compromised because of work pressure. Paterno as the head coach had the responsibility to report the illegal activities of his assistant coach but he did not. This is because o the pressure to keep the team winning and attract the best sporting talents to the university. The head coach therefore ignored the abuse committed by Sandusky for the team to continue winning. The learning objective is to identify how individuals in positions of leadership can be compromised as a result of the pressure of maintaining the culture of an institution (Pennsylvania State University, 2015).

Background information

The Penn state university football team is the most successful football team in the National Collegiate Athletics’ Association (NCAA) history. Much of this success can be directly attributed to the head coach, Joe Paterno with the assistance of JerrySandursky. Paterno a former quarterback in his playing days with Brown University joined Penn state as an assistant coach in 1950. In 1966, he took over as head coach of the team until he was fired in 2011 as a result of the child sex abuse scandal. As the head coach, Paterno was accused of turning a blind eye to the activities of his assistant. He is also accused of persuading some school officials not to report the case to authorities in 2001 (Pennsylvania State University, 2015)
During his six decades as the head coach of the football team, he became the most successful coach in terms of wins, amassing a total of 409 wins. The Penn state university became synonymous with its football team at the time. Because of the success and the stature of its team, the head coach was not ethical in terms of reporting the child sex abuse scandal. The team offered athletics scholarships to students attending the college. The athletics and sports heritage of the university was a source of pride. Because of the pressure to perform at a high level, the head coach might have been compromised in not reporting the scandal. The time the scandal is expected to have started is in the 1970s and up to 2011, Paterno must have become aware of the illegal activities of his assistant coach. However, in order to keep the team together, he opted not to report the scandal to the relevant authorities. The must win culture of the football team put pressure on the head coach not to report such activities. This is because If he had reported the scandal, the balance in the team would have been affected leading to poor performance (Pennsylvania State University, 2015).


Pennsylvania State University (2015) The Freeh Report on Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from

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"Free Penn State Critical Thinking Sample," Free Essay Examples -, 11-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 23-Mar-2023].
Free Penn State Critical Thinking Sample. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 11, 2021. Accessed March 23, 2023.

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