I love college football. The reasons are complicated. Mostly it's because my dad and by extension my whole family did. Even my mother paid attention (which is not a sexist statement, it's just you'd never imagine she personally would have known what football was if not for my dad). It also has a lot to do with my high school friends. I would have been fine to talk about comic books, but then I would have been talking to myself. So I learned to care about sports. Then I got to college and it really mattered.
Again, it was a something to relate to people about. Plus I spent an obscene amount of money to go to school, so I took (and continue to take) every Michigan victory as a personal one. I've often compared it to religion. For me anyway. It's as close to blind faith as I get. It's a part of who I am. Intrinsic at this point.
So what to do when your beloved institution goes sour? To paraphrase Dan Savage, if kids got raped by clowns at the rate they do by priests, we'd shut down the circus. What would I do if was Penn State Alumnus? What if my allegiance was to Ohio State or Michigan State or Maryland? Yeah, all of those teams are in the same half of the same conference as Michigan. It's fucking depressing.
And all those scandals barely touch on the inherent danger in the sport. Would you let your kid play football, knowing that it could permanently injure their brain? It's easy for me to say that I wouldn't give money to the Catholic church or any of the above mentioned schools if my allegiance lied there. I hope if Jim Harbaugh did what Urban Meyer did and the University's response was equivalent, I'd give up my season tickets. I don't know how I'd live with myself otherwise.
Maybe I'm being naive. There's evidence that this kind of shit has gone on forever and now it's just out in the open, like racism under Trump. But once it's irrefutably out, you can't support it anymore. I mean you can, people do and just chose not to care. I suppose you can argue Penn State has worked to fix its problems. But Durkin is still at Maryland, Meyer is at OSU and Michigan State has thrown it's hands up over the sexual assault of 100's of its students. It'll be hard to not have that in my brain as I watch football this year. For now though, I'm still watching. I hope these things are fixable, because I'd hate to give it up.