State College, Pa., better known as Happy Valley, has quickly turned into a city of dismay, shock and disgust. The community, current students, college faculty, and alumni around the country, are in total disbelief, not to mention the coaches and players who are preparing to play Nebraska this week on Senior Day.
Penn State’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is accused of sexual misconduct and abuse of nine boys more than a decade ago, was arrested, released from jail on bail and is awaiting his trial which is expected to take place in early December.
The last 72-plus hours has sent a rippling effect across every college campus, the NCAA and is now the focal point of every media outlet. As victims continue to come forward, the resentment and wrath of anger is soaring sky high, with the question of how can this happen and why? A source close to the situation at Penn State told “Outside the Lines” reporter Steve Delsohn that “the support on the board of trustees for Joe (Paterno) is eroding.”
In 2010, State College was ranked as the third-safest metropolitan area in the United States. Like other cities in America, sex predators lurk everywhere. There are no boundaries when it comes to nationality, gender or profession.
When I became the college director for the Carolina Panthers in 2000, I finally was able to travel to several colleges across the country that were on my professional bucket list, and Penn State was at the top of the list because of the tradition, history and coach Paterno.
In my last trip to Penn State about four years ago, Paterno, an iconic figure of college football, had taken a step back in his day-to-day duties, on-field coaching and was more of a motivator, walking from drill to drill, allowing his staff to coach. After all, he was in his early 80s. Many of the board of trustees members, alumni and boosters have suggested several times, and have made a big push, but fell short of the removal of JoePa.
This full-blown investigation is turning up some shocking and disturbing news of sexual misconduct by Sandusky both on and off campus and it is drawing the 85-year-old Paterno into the center of the investigation.
For coach Paterno, in my opinion, it is a moral issue, not criminal. As the facts come out and the due process of the court system begins, we will hear his side of what happened, what he was told and the in-depth knowledge he had of the situation.
It has been reported that Paterno was told of the situation involving Sandusky and a boy in the Penn State shower area, by a graduate assistant coach. After calling the athletics director, why didn’t he confront Sandusky, and take the proper action like firing him on the spot and never allowing him back on campus and then informing the campus police of a crime on campus the moment he was told.
It is not Joe Paterno’s job to be judge and jury, but to do what is humanly and morally right was, and he failed. There are now many unanswered questions. Where will this lead, and who will testify at court? The major question is whether JoePa will survive this cover-up, hold off another run at his job by the Board of Trustees, or will this be enough to remove the most powerful man in the state of Pennsylvania from his office?