PR specialist: PSU may need new image

November 11, 2011

Public relations specialist David Neff now has mixed feelings about a football he has signed by Joe Paterno.

A lot has changed since Paterno signed that ball during Penn State's 1986 championship season.

Like the football, the school's image now needs to be dusted off and re-inflated. Neff says the University has handled the crisis poorly.

"The whole lack of remorse, the lack of accountability, not taking responsibility with the way the whole situation went down from the top to the bottom, it was just atrocious," said David Neff.

Neff says to rehab its image the school must demonstrate that its biggest concern is the victims. Then, install policies to make sure it never happens again.

The university's new president announced a step in that direction earlier Friday night.

"Never again, should anyone at Penn State, regardless of their position, feel scared to do the right thing," said Rodney Erickson.

Neff says he would embark on a "New Penn State" public relations campaign.

It might start with TV and print ads apologizing to the victims and their families. Then, he says the school should make clear its primary focus is education.

"Making sure that the well being of the students and the education of the students is the most important thing moving forward," Neff suggests.

Neff says rebuilding Penn State's image won't be easy.

"I don't think this is going to come and go very quickly," says Neff.

The Nittany Lion will endure, but Neff says the university may even want to consider retiring that stylized lion logo with something new and fresh.

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