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NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Nixing Nebraska/Penn State 2011 is Best For All Involved

By Huskerlocker @huskerlocker

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By Erin Sorensen

By the time you read this, most, if not all, of you will know that Joe Paterno has been fired as head coach of Penn State’s football team. Many of you are also aware of how students handled the news.
For those who went to bed early, you may have seen the photos underneath a front-page headline or footage on your morning news.
It was shocking to watch on television and read over Twitter as students tipped cars, attempted to start fires, and swarmed the streets. Through it all, a passing thought turned into a legitimate concern: Should Penn State forfeit its game against Nebraska?
In the spirit of transparency, I believe so.
First and foremost, this game should not happen if the safety of both teams’ players is in jeopardy. The way Penn State students chose to conduct themselves last night is a sign of what could potentially happen this weekend.
While many argue that the students will have had time to settle down and will be much more somber, I have a hard time believing a national stage and TV cameras couldn’t rile them up again, especially with rumors of more allegations to come.
Allowing the Nebraska Cornhuskers to walk into Happy Valley with such a potentially large safety risk involved is more than just ludicrous, it is a liability. Emotions will be high at Penn State on Saturday, and if there is any kind of risk for personal safety, the discussion ends at that.
However, there are also rumors that the seniors of the Nittany Lions’ football team are going to sit out in protest of Paterno being fired. If this is the case, Penn State has made the decision to call the game off an easy one.
The Nittany Lions’ players are more than welcome to sit out the contest, but they also need to understand what they could possibly be giving up. By sitting out, it would mean a forfeit is not out of the question. If that were the case, Nebraska has no reason to make the trip.

NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Nixing Nebraska/Penn State 2011 is Best For All Involved

Finally, the most important reason not to play this Saturday is because of the victims themselves. Greatly overshadowed due to last night’s events, the sufferers of the heinous acts committed are the people most needing protection.
While Penn State players threaten to sit out, it is a testament to short-sightedness – Choosing a football coach over all of the victims and families that are suffering.
While the players of both teams have done nothing to deserve a game being forfeited, the national exposure it will bring will only be more harmful to those harmed. The game will be outshined by scandal. What happens on the field will be a footnote to the bigger story.
There is no escaping this. If Penn State wins, then what? There will be no national celebration. It will not be a joyous occasion.
If Nebraska wins, the victory will feel a bit empty. There are dark clouds hovering over this game. The winner’s glory will be trumped by a story they should not be competing with. It’s as simple as that.
Tonight was an eye-opening experience. For those who are seeing these images for the first time, it’s an odd sight, isn’t it? I grew up respecting and admiring both Penn State and Joe Paterno. I’m not sure about anyone else, but my world has been shifted over the last couple of days.
Through this whole situation, however, I have been reminded that football is just that, football. There are much more important things in life than just one game. If Nebraska does not play this Saturday, the world will not come crumbling down.
In the wake of one of the largest scandals in sports history, a step back may be what everyone needs. It’s time to start fixing Penn State. The institution itself is not corrupt, but rather the people in charge. If it takes cancelling one football game to get everyone back on track, so be it.
In the meantime, thoughts and prayers go out to both the victims and their families. Game or no game, this story is much more than football. In fact, it is a story that will define sports as we know it.
Let’s make sure we can look back on it and be proud of the decision we made.
Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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