Penn State coach fiasco not about football

Travis Kriens

Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged this past week with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault sex crimes against young boys.

Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curly and senior vice president Gary Schultz all knew about the allegations about Sandusky as early as a decade ago. Paterno gave grand jury testimony that he was informed in 2002 that an assistant coach (who at the time of the incident was a graduate assistant) had witnessed Sandusky having sex with a 10-year-old boy in a shower in the teams’ locker room.

Curly and Schultz are charged with committing perjury and failure to report allegations of an assault on campus as they were informed by Paterno of the incident.

Where there is smoke there’s fire and it seems Penn State has an inferno on their hands.

This is not the first time or only time Sandusky has had problems like this as he was investigated by university police in 1998 after a mother reported to them that her 11-year-old son had showered with Sandusky. A Penn State police detective and a municipal police detective later eavesdropped on a conversation between the mother and Sandusky in which Sandusky answered “I don’t know … maybe” when the mother asked him if he had touched her son inappropriately. He also admitted he had showered with the boy to an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. The Penn State police detective advised Sandusky not to shower with a child again, and Sandusky promised he would not. No charges were filed.

The sad thing is that Sandusky also ran a children’s charity called The Second Mile that he founded in 1977 that reaches 200,000 kids in this state each year through programs and camps.

A lot of people will put the blame on Joe Paterno and rightfully so. He did do the right thing and tell the athletic director, who obviously chose not to do anything about it.

Nobody knows who Tim Curly or Gary Schultz are. People know who Joe Paterno is and they want to put a name and a face that they can put the blame on. I feel that this story will be more about Paterno and his legacy than about Sandusky and the acts that he committed. Sandusky should be the one getting the backlash that Paterno will no doubt receive.

I believe this will be Paterno’s 45th and final season as head coach at Penn State. A position that he has held in title only for much of the past decade and at a place he was an assistant at 15 years before that starting in 1950. The fact is that if Paterno had retired 10 years ago, it doesn’t change what Sandusky did. The 67-year-old former assistant will likely die in jail after this process is complete, which seems to me to be getting off a little too easy.

In a case that goes beyond sports, maybe you go to the authorities with this one and bypass the administration. Sandusky retired in 1999, so he wasn’t even on the Penn State coaching staff in 2002. But then we saw that the authorities didn’t lay down the law in 1998 when if they did, maybe the 2002 incident doesn’t even happen. Sandusky was released on bond after his arrest a few days ago. His home just happens to be 1,000 feet from an elementary school. With that being said, lets spread some of this blame around a little and give a good portion of it to law enforcement.

I wrote a column a month or so back saying that one incident can change how people view you and it will be interesting to see the aftermath of this mess in the years to come, but those are questions that will be answered at another time, not now.

ESPN went over the line and had an article on how this situation affects their football recruiting. Are you kidding me? That’s like asking if Pearl Harbor will affect tourism to Hawaii. There are so many more important issues that take precedence at this point than to look at it from the recruiting point of view. When someone makes an inappropriate joke about a sensitive topic and they end it with “too soon”, this is what they are talking about.

Have some class and try to break a story or investigate it rather than sensationalize it or turn it around to how it affects the play on the field. This is a story that goes beyond sports and is only covered in the sports section because the allegations being brought up are happening to those that were involved in sports as a career. Leave the field of play out of this because it has nothing to do with this story.