Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Sad Day in Happy Valley
For years, Penn State was viewed as the model college football program. Its student-athletes performed well on the field and well in the classroom, and its leader, Coach Joe Paterno, was a legend, and a moral exemplar of how to do college athletics right.
At least that was the appearance. It now seems likely that Paterno and the highest levels of Penn State's administration acted beginning in the late 1990s to cover up sex crimes against children perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky, the team's former defensive coordinator. The story is not pretty, but on the face of the grand jury's presentment, appears very credible. Sandusky is going to jail for a long time; some of the Penn State administration is going to go to jail for perjury before the Grand Jury; and it seems inevitable that the President of Penn State and Joe Paterno himself will end up resigning in disgrace very soon.
Why? The timeline is a killer for Joe Pa: Sandusky was investigated in 1998 for child molestation; he was essentially fired by Paterno as defensive coordinator in 1999, a move which took many by surprise, but as a "retired" coach still remained able to use the Penn State facilities; another case came to light to Paterno in 2002, which he apparently reported to the school administration, but not to the cops; and subsequently (this is the worst part) other children were molested in the past decade, when it might have been stopped. He had to have known; he didn't do anything; children were subsequently harmed. He's got to go. It's a sad day in Happy Valley.