The Jerry Sandusky situation seems a matter of failure to connect certain dots, or perhaps unwillingness in that regard. Lots of people besides the former Penn State defensive coordinator have some explaining to do.
Allegations of improper conduct with an underage male first surfaced in 1998, while Sandusky was still employed by Penn State. That incident allegedly occurred in a shower at Penn State’s on-campus football facility. No charges were filed.
Sandusky retired the next year, in 1999. He was 55, prime age for a coach. Odd, to say the least - especially with Joe Paterno thought even then to be ready to quit and Sandusky a likely, openly-discussed successor.
It seems logical to ask: What did Paterno know, and when did he know it? What did Penn State’s administration know, and when did they know it?
Best-case scenario: Charges are never brought, and Sandusky walks away with his reputation permanently scarred. The rumors, the jokes, the sideways glances - they won’t ever stop. Paterno and Penn State do the great escape.
Worst-case scenario: Sandusky is charged. Then it seems reasonable to wonder: Did Penn State not make an issue of Sandusky’s alleged behavior in 1998 in exchange for him walking away from the program at an age premature for most coaches? Did Penn State’s considerable influence help get Sandusky off the hook?
Don’t kid yourself. That could happen. Don’t underestimate the power of Paterno and Penn State in central Pennsylvania when it comes to politicians, the police and the media.
…there’s no shortage of stories and rumors about Penn State football sweeping problems under the rug, is there?
Why did college football let an accomplished coach like Sandusky walk away at 55? Why did he disappear into relative anonymity?
A grand jury, spurred by a complaint made by a 15-year-old boy in 2009, has been investigating Sandusky for 18 months. Witnesses include Paterno and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley. Interviewing Paterno about a subject like this had to have been one of the single most uncomfortable acts in the history of jurisprudence.
Plenty of questions remain yet unanswered. Potentially among them: What’s more important, Penn State football or the welfare of a few kids?
You might not want to hear the answer.