Jim Tressel Looks Like A Saint Compared to Joe Paterno Now

November 7th, 2011

This story about a massive-coverup at Penn State is frankly astonishing. A few observations.

First, Joe Paterno should resign, immediately. What an ignoble way to end such an illustrious career. JoePa was a deity on campus. He was unimpeachable. A figure beyond reproach. If the grand jury findings are accurate, Paterno was informed by an assistant coach that Sanduskey was having some sort of sexual contact with a 10-year-old boy in the showers at the Penn State Football Building. Rather than calling the police, Paterno summoned the Athletic Director to his house the next day. Now, under Pennsylvania law, state employees only have an obligation to report allegations of abuse to their supervisors. But this is ridiculous. You find that your long-time assistant coach was doing something–anything!–to a child, you call the police. Summoning the athletic director to your home reeks of coverup. Joe Pa should have stepped down years ago. He would have retired with dignity and grace. Now, this is even worse than Bobby Bowden’s sendoff.

Second, to me, the obvious question is what else has JoePa not been honest about. Jim Tressel got run out of town for lying about a player receiving some tattoos and cash for autographs. Is failing to tell the police about molestation allegations any better? Or, does telling the University absolve those sins.

Third, to a broader point I often make about the racket that is the “student athlete” movement, the nature of large universities breeds this type of cover-up. Everything is always kept internal. It seems the Centre County District Attorney decided not to bring charges. The prior Attorney General–now Governor–Tom Corbett, did not bring this suit between 2005 and 2011–when it would have been timely under the statute of limitations (though a¬†superseding¬†indictment alleging a conspiracy to cover-up probably saves this). There are serious political forces at play to keep this quiet. Graham Spanier, longtime president of Penn State, will likely have to take a hit on this eventually, unless his trained disciple Athletic Director intentionally kept him out of the loop.

What a shame for my almamatter. For the glory, indeed.