The not-so-Happy Valley

By Greg Romagna

Jerry Sandusky/ Courtesy of the Attourney General

For the past week or so, the college football world has been rocked by the sexual abuse scandal uncovered at Penn State. Jerry Sandusky, the legendary former defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, has been accused of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15 year period. With these accusations comes a magnified look at how the situation was handled by officials at the university, including beloved coach Joe Paterno, receivers coach Mike McQueary, university President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz.

Both Curley and Schultz have stepped down from their positions with the university pending the coming indictments against them for allegedly lying to a grand jury and failing to alert authorities of the alleged abuse. Spanier has been fired by the university along with Paterno, who was planning on retiring at the conclusion of the season, because of the situation. The job status of McQueary, who claims to have witnessed an incident of abuse, remains unclear. He will not be coaching in Saturday’s game against Nebraska, but his future with the university remains to be seen.

Paterno’s firing has been a source of great controversy, as evidenced by the riots at Penn State following the announcement of the coach’s termination. There are two schools of thought on the matter, the first being that it is unknown how McQueary phrased what he reported to Paterno, and because Paterno was unaware of the seriousness of the allegation, he had no responsibility beyond reporting the allegation to his superior which he did in fact do. The other school of thought is that it doesn’t matter what was said to Paterno or what he is legally obligated or not obligated to do, he should have reported the allegation to police right on the spot.

We may never know how things went down behind the scenes, but what we do know is that legally, Paterno did everything necessary of him. Morally however, even Paterno admits that he should have done more. Throughout his time at Penn State, Paterno has been a pillar of integrity while running one of the more successful football programs in the country. He has been a hero as well as a great inspiration to many, and his legacy on the field is unmatched by any other coach. One lapse in judgment has brought everything around him crumbling down.

Note: It should not be forgotten that Sandusky is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

Gregory Romagna can be reached for comment at [email protected]