The Barometer keepsÂ a C-drive folder titled, “When Will They Learn?”Â In the folder are all the stories about organizations that become aware of misconduct by individuals and opt to do nothing and, in too many cases, even attempt to conceal the misconduct.Â Â Inside the folder?Â All the folks caught doing insider trading.Â How hard is it to understand that if you trade on material, non-public information, they are going to catch you?Â The majority of the folder includes the information on the child molestation scandalsÂ by Catholic priests, BBC television stars, Elmo puppeteers,Â college coaches, and Scoutmasters. Â In all of these situations, there are long periods of time in which the leaders, who are aware of “this is obviously wrong” conductÂ are doing nothing to halt the problem.Â However, they do manage during this “doing nothing” period toÂ build quiteÂ a record of what happened and document for public view and, sometimes prosecutors, that they KNEW what had happened (Â or, in some cases,Â was still happening).
Rutgers joined the “When will they learn?” folder this week.Â How could the athletic director and administrators have witnessed what happened to Penn State and not wonder aloud, “Wonder if we should take some action here?”Â The only wrong answer once you know of misconduct is to do nothing.Â Â Doing nothing makes you part of the problem.Â Do something straight away and you lose a coach.Â Hang on doing nothing for months or years andÂ whomever you are protecting takesÂ you down with him. At Penn State the “doing nothing” went on for so long that others at the university, in the town, among the merchants andÂ alums whoÂ knew nothing still pay the price.Â Rutgers has lost a coach and an athletic director, and they are probably not done with the collateral damage.
Once you know, do something.Â Disclose, refer for prosecution, fire, suspend, investigate, or all of the foregoing.Â However, don’t sit in meetings fretting about reputations, legal issues, and media coverage.Â At Rutgers, the administration spent months building a legal case for firing the coach.Â The Barometer hopes that the reason for doing nothing was not concern overÂ spoiling the then-ongoing BigÂ Ten negotiations. So, they kept it quiet and got into the Big Ten.
Yikes!Â Look at the tape of Coach Rice!Â Not much room for a legal misstep among the slurs there, except in doing nothing.Â WelcomeÂ this exemplar to the Big Ten. Good luck building trust with the folks at the conference now. Once you know, you can’t take it back.Â Â Action builds trust.Â Ironically, doing nothing is a destructive force.