The story coming out of Penn State over the weekend is sad and terrible. You can read about them on the front page of CNN. The short version is that Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno's Defensive Coordinator of 23 years, sexually assaulted eight boys between 1994-2009. After this was reported to Athletic Director Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz the School's VP of Finance and Dodge Stratus Driving in 2002. Both men resigned their positions last night.
Curley and Schultz "allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury that was investigating a series of assaults on young boys," Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said over the weekend.
If true, this is the single worst cover-up that we know of in NCAA Football history. I worry that there is too much hyperbole in the previous sentence, I also worry there is not enough. In a cursory search of the googles all the worst penalties have been applied to players getting paid, given free drugs, too many hookers, etc. All of those things are different, they involve grown people making choices to accept said money, drugs or professional services. The actions of Jerry Sandusky if true deserve the most stringent criminal punishment. I'm a parent and so are many people who read this, to do what he is accused of is unthinkable.
A great man once said "Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.", that man's name was Joe Paterno. I love Joe Paterno, he's not just the face of Penn State, he might well be the face of the whole Big Ten. "COME TO PENN STAAAAAAAAAAAATE" gets yelled in my house on a monthly basis. He became the winningest coach in NCAA history just a couple of weeks ago and it couldn't have happened to a more outwardly deserving man. As a person he's one of the most generous coaches in the NCAA. He takes a low salary and donates a significant portion back to the school in the form of academic scholarships annually. As a casual Penn State fan, I'm sure that he participates in many more charitable endeavors.
That's why it kills me to write that if these allegations are true, he has to go. A person might not be able to prove whether he knew anything about this or not, for my own part I simply cannot believe you could work with someone for 23 years and not know about this. Joe Paterno is nobody's fool and certainly not the fool of a member of his inner circle. I honestly hope he could leave without having his legacy forever stained, but I doubt it. If Jim Tressel gets fired for lying about his players taking money, weed and cars, Joe Paterno has to go for this. I hate writing that sentence, but it's true.
As a football program, I don't know how PSU survives this. If this happened at Michigan State, I don't think I could root for MSU in any sort of financially supportive way ever again. I'd be upset that this happened at MSU, but only because it happened anywhere. A certain percentage of the population are pederasts, it's disgusting but true, and Penn State happened to draw the short straw on having this college coach be one at their school. What would set it over the top for me is that there was an active effort to prevent that information getting out into the community. That school would lose my trust permanently.
Finally, if these allegations are true, PSU needs to have NCAA punishments applied that are as harsh as any I can recall in my lifetime. I cannot think of a punishment that fits the crime right now, mostly because I cannot wrap my head around the alleged crime at this point. But the point is this, people who are critical decision-makers at Penn State allegedly covered this story up to protect the Penn State football program. The penalty for this needs to be so harsh that no other institution would ever consider doing the same. It's terrible that it happened, it's unforgivable that it was covered up.