The Penn State sex scandal is threatening to tear down the very fabric of the university, as it should because it appears there was a lot more knowledge of Jerry Sandusky and his transgressions than originally thought. The reason for all the backlash against the school, however, is because of the obvious cover-up that took place.
Head coach Joe Paterno said in a statement that he first heard about an incident involving Sandusky in 2002 and reported it to his superiors.
As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.
Legally speaking, Paterno did the right thing, but those school officials did not do anything to Sandusky after learning about this, and, in fact, they continued to allow him to run a football camp for boys at Penn State’s satellite campus from 2002-2008.
There is a saying that goes, “The cover-up is always worse than the crime.” While I don’t think that holds true in this case, the fact that university administrators knew about Sandusky and kept it quiet does ruin their reputation.
If the administrators had just come out and informed the proper authorities right when they found out, we would only be talking about Sandusky and not calling for the heads of anyone and everyone associated with the program.
Now, the football program is going to be gutted. None of the coaches should be able to keep their jobs because they have to start over and wipe their slate clean.
Whenever a program is stripped to the bones, it makes it impossible to get recruits to sign with you and the talent you currently have will want to go elsewhere to avoid the headaches that go with being associated with Penn State University.
Things will never be the same for the football program, the administration and the university itself, and this once-proud program is in serious trouble as a result.