WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Fallout from Joe Paterno's firing is reaching beyond Penn State's campus. Local college students and their professors are dissecting the alleged scandal and also the highly-criticized response from some Paterno fans up north. Many are taking the firing of Paterno and a widening sex abuse scandal to heart.
Justin Harmon an Associate Professor in Northwood University's Entertainment and Sport Management Program said Penn State's football program and a legacy coach like Paterno can provide fans relief from daily stresses, but this week it may be the opposite. "Anger, frustration, shame," Harmon said. "The students said the same thing." Harmon believes that when a revered program is suddenly the center of a scandal, those same fans can feel lost. "Now this sanctuary, which used to be sports, is a painful place as well," he said.
Northwood University Entertainment and Sport Management Chairman Dennis Bechtol said Penn State's biggest fans may actually disassociate with their teams; but likely not forever. "That's the fickleness of the sports consumer for the most part. They're hardcore," said Bechtol, who is also tacking the topic of the Penn State scandal in his classes.
Northwood University seniors who soon hope to enter the sports management field said the scandal is changing the way they would run a sports program in the future. "Going back and making sure the word gets out and that the people doing the wrong actions get reprimanded for that," said student Chad Scott.
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