The last year in college football has been ripe with
There’s been the Cam Newton recruitment investigation.
We’ve had suspensions and a resignation over discounted
tattoos in Columbus. There was the name-dropping of 72
athletes who received improper benefits from a super
booster at Miami.
They all pale in comparison to what’s unfolded at Penn
State University. The Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal
that has come to light in the last five days is the most
disgusting scandal to hit college athletics ever.
Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coordinator who
spent 30 seasons on the Nittany Lions coaching staff, is
counts related to allegations of sexual abuse of young
boys over an extended period of time.
While far from being resolved, the scandal has had far-
reaching implications, including the resignation of
legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno effective at
the end of the season.
My question…why does JoePa get to coach another game?
I’m not going to sit here and paint Joe Paterno as a
villain or an evil figure. He’s not. Paterno released a
statement on Wednesday morning when he tendered his
resignation that read, “I have come to work every day for
the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve
the best interests of this university and the young men
who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal
I firmly believe Joe Paterno did that. Jerry Sandusky,
who was under Paterno’s employ, didn’t have a similar
But by allowing Paterno to finish out the season, the
powers-that-be at Penn State (who all should be fired) are
sending the message that football is more important than
morality. Paterno didn’t break any laws, but, in my
didn’t do enough when he was made aware of the situation,
and because of that and the complete failure of others
involved, Sandusky continued to prey upon young
boys for seven years.
Paterno’s status and legendary coaching record are the
only reasons that he’s being allowed to continue coaching
the Nittany Lions for the remainder of this season.
Can you name another coach anywhere that would get this
kind of leeway under such disturbing circumstances? Don’t
try. Every other coach on the planet would be shown the
Consider Jim Tressel’s resignation earlier this year from
Ohio State. Tressel won a lot of football games in his
tenure in Columbus, but resigned under pressure because he
didn’t report his knowledge of wrong-doing in a timely
Now, consider the wrong-doing. Ohio State players were
getting discounted tattoos and selling merchandise to fans
and collectors for a few extra bucks. Tressel was
villified, labeled a liar, and never coached another game
for the Buckeyes.
What’s happened at Penn State is a million times worse,
and yet Paterno is going to coach a minimum of four more
games? Paterno, at the heart of the issue, is guilty of
the same things as Tressel — not disclosing his knowledge
of wrong-doing to the correct people.
I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t feel bad for Joe
Paterno. I do feel bad for someone who has provided so
much to a sport that I love.
There’s been a lot of talk about how Paterno’s legacy will
be altered by this horrific scandal. I don’t believe
there’s a universal answer to that question. Public
opinion is a funny thing. Some view Michael Jackson as
the “King of Pop”. Others view him as a disturbed man-
child who spent a lot of time in courtrooms connected to
molestation charges. How do you view O.J. Simpson? Is he
a football hero or a liar who murdered two people,
including his ex-wife?
Legacy is a very individual entity.
How will you remember Joe Paterno? I’ll choose to remember
him as a college football coaching legend over
anything else. Only after that will I think of this
horrible ending to Paterno’s coaching tenure.
But by no means should he coach another game at Penn