Here is the final two paragraphs in this well-written article about THON (full story here):
[NYT] The last year was a rough one for Penn State, with the child sexual abuse scandal that took down the football coach, Joe Paterno, and led to the conviction of his former assistant Jerry Sandusky. Granted, Thon had been raising money and doing good works long before any of that came to light. But it may be more important now because students need to be reassured that they were good people who do good things.
The fact is, Thon probably has more to do with Penn State students than football does. They are not looking to make someone an all-star; they are doing charitable work. And it wasn’t just one student, it was thousands doing that.
via Fred Conrad/NewYorkTimes