Penn State has attempted to separate itself from former coach Jerry Sandusky ever since the child sex-abuse scandal erupted late last year. As the trial winds toward its conclusion, the school will finally get some relief and a chance to recover.
Sandusky was a popular defensive coordinator for the football team for more than 20 years and has been part of the Penn State community since playing defensive end for the Nittany Lions starting in 1963. His alleged actions caused a dark cloud to form over the university.
It quickly became a public relations nightmare. Longtime coach Joe Paterno was let go, marking the end of his legendary coaching career in a way nobody could have imagined, among other changes as the school attempted to remove any connection to Sandusky.
Unfortunately for Penn State, it became the story that wouldn't go away. For more than eight months, Sandusky has remained in the headlines, with his connection to the school mentioned at every turn.
So the end of his trial—which is now on the horizon with closing arguments set to begin—will finally give Penn State a chance to starting rebuilding its image as the Sandusky story slowly fades away.
Everybody has their own opinion about what Sandusky did or didn't do and what his potential punishment should be if he's found guilty, but the verdict is really secondary to Penn State. Just putting an end to the proceedings is great news for everybody involved with the school.
Football season is right around the corner and new head coach Bill O'Brien has given fans a reason to get excited. It will be nice for the players to enjoy the spotlight again after watching their impressive campaign get overshadowed by the chaos last fall.
Saturday afternoons spent at Beaver Stadium will be one of the first signs of normalcy returning to Penn State. That's all the school should really want: A chance to start highlighting the positives again instead of past problems.
Sandusky's fate rests in the hands of a jury. Whatever they decide, Penn State officials, students and alumni will be happy the long journey finally comes to an end.