The big story from the sports world is the potential ouster of Joe Paterno as head coach of Penn State -- which, strangely enough, leads us to a question: Is it ever OK for someone to destroy his or her college diploma? Because that is exactly what one Penn State graduate did Tuesday afternoon: he burned his 1975 diploma before a crowd gathered at Old Main, the University Park campus's central building. A few photos (including the one above) of the incident are making the rounds on Twitter.
"It probably means nothing to anybody else, but it means a lot to me, because I worked hard for my degree and now I want nothing to do with these people," diploma-burner David Baran tells The Daily Collegian.
While we agree that the sexual abuse that former coach Jerry Sandusky is charged with -- along with the cover-up that might have followed -- should be taken seriously indeed, maybe burning your diploma over it is somehow an incongruous response.
With that in mind, let's take a quick look at a few other times people have destroyed their diplomas to see if we can determine when doing so is justified and when it isn't.
When your alma mater fires you: This September, after Ralph Friedgen was canned as head coach of the University of Maryland's football team, he got hotheaded and decided to torch his own Maryland degree. He told Baltimore radio station WNST-FM, "I could care less about Maryland, I've burned my diploma. I'm flying a Georgia Tech flag right now," according to ESPN. Flying the flag of intraconference rival like Georgia Tech (where ex-Terrapins coach was an assistent) is high treason in college football. Friedgen just came off bitter in the whole spat: he burned his diploma not for some greater cause but only because of his own peevishness. Can you destroy your diploma after your alma mater fires you? No.