Restore Ohioans’ trust

When an institution has a decades-long pattern of covering up or failing to acknowledge abuse by one of its own, it is necessary for both the wellbeing of the victims and of that institution to do everything possible to set the situation right.

We see the degree to which institutions ranging from the Catholic Church to Penn State University have worked to restore trust and make amends.

Ohio State University, on the other hand, still has work to do.

An investigation conducted by a law firm hired by OSU itself concluded that the university knew about and failed to act to halt decades of sexual abuse of student athletes by former team doctor Richard Strauss.

The more than 200 plaintiffs in lawsuits filed against the university are right to ask for help from the NCAA and the Big Ten athletic conference — and not just because they are seeking greater monetary compensation. “I think it’s time for them to step up and protect the athletes, both of yesterday and of today,” said Mike Murphy, a former pole vaulter who says he was abused by Strauss while at the university in the late 1980s.

While there is some argument to be made that the difference for Ohio State is that Strauss is deceased and was never convicted of a crime, it bears repeating that the law firm the university hired agrees with the plaintiffs that some OSU officials knew what was happening and did not stop it.

After all, Ohio State is often considered to be the flagship university of the state. Its fight song and its O-H-I-O cheer can be heard across Ohio, and they are recognized by state residents wherever they happen to be.

Buckeyes everywhere should be able to take pride in the institution, regardless of whether they ever attended classes there, and not just in its football team’s record.

As one plaintiff put it, corrective measures should be great enough to ensure such a thing never happens again at Ohio State.

If it takes outside help to make that happen, so be it.


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