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Iowan, former Nittany Lion defends Penn State

[ 2 ] June 26, 2012 |

An Iowan with strong Penn State ties wants people to know one thing regarding the university he cares deeply about.

Andrew Pitz #40 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates with fans following the 2010 Capital One Bowl against the LSU Tigers at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on January 1, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Penn State won 19-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

“Just as when top business executives make poor decisions and it reflects on the entire company, or our political leaders do things to hurt the image of the United States, the actions of Jerry (Sandusky) and whatever else may have occurred may hurt the image Penn Staters work so hard to uphold,” said Bettendorf native Andrew Pitz, a former Nittany Lions football player.

“But I can’t stress enough that this is not representative of Penn State as a whole.”

Pitz, a long snapper for Penn State through the 2009 season, commented less than a week after a jury found former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky guilty on 45 counts of sexually molesting children.

“I have a friend in Haiti right now building both a school and homes for under-privileged families and children,” Pitz said, “yet his story is lost in the negativity surrounding Penn State.”

Pitz, who graduated from Bettendorf in 2005, lives in State College. He is an entrepreneur. He’s knows the pulse of the community.

“Justice for the victims was served,” he said.

Pitz was working at a football camp in Pittsburgh on Friday when the verdict was read.

“I think Penn State’s reputation has been hurt some, especially in the court of public opinion,” he said. “Despite the negative press our university has suffered recently from people who don’t understand the quality of the institution, I know Penn State is one of the country’s top universities.”

Pitz said he did not know Sandusky well, considering he played for Penn State after Sandusky’s retirement.

“Jerry was just the friendly former coach who would work out in the mornings, and who always had a smile on his face,” Pitz said. “The guys that knew him liked him.

“No one had any idea he was hiding such a terrible secret, or that he hurt so many innocent people.

“After I graduated, I only saw Jerry once or twice around town, but I’d see his wife in the gym and chat with her from time to time. I saw her twice the week before the trial, but we didn’t speak.”

Sandusky, 68, could face 400 years in prison when sentencing is handed down.

“I’m sad for the victims,” Pitz said. “I’m sad that a man who had everything and was so well-liked and respected would harm innocent children and throw his life away.

“It’s sad that seemingly much of the country thinks Penn State is a poisonous campus full of pedophiles, when in reality, it is still a great institution whose alums are creating jobs, researching and developing medical advancements, and helping those in need.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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