It’s pretty clear that, barring some miracle performance from Joe Paterno, the pope of State College, at today’s scheduled press conference, everybody involved in Penn State football, from the ballboy on up, will soon be gone. Everybody. UPDATE: The press conference has been canceled.
The core allegation to come out of investigations so far is that in 2002 a low-level assistant coach saw Jerry Sandusky, a retired but tremendously renowned former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator at the time, raping a little kid in the showers.
Schools officials and head football coach Paterno were told about the rape; law enforcement wasn’t.
I went through old newspaper articles to find out what people thought about Sandusky back in the day. Turns out. He was a finalist to take over the Maryland football program three times: in 1991, 1996 and 2000. He nearly got the University of Virginia head coaching job in 2000, also.
But for whatever reason in each case lesser known applicants ended up with the jobs. Debbie Yow, the former athletic director that everybody loves to hate, made at least two good decisions in her Maryland career, by going with the non-Sandusky candidates in ’96 and ’00.
The most macabre thing I found was a long profile of Sandusky that ran in the Washington Post in 1999, just after he’d quit Penn State. In the piece, one admirer after another hailed Sandusky for his work with troubled kids, all of which for now at least seems so seamy and evil. One fan talked up how Sandusky “makes children…completely comfortable” around him.
And then there’s the passage about how the mood on game days before kickoff was always somber, with all players and staff tied in knots and over-obsessing about a stupid ol’ football, until “Sandusky would pop into the locker room, hand in hand with a couple of kids.”
One former player told the Post: “He’s always wanted to touch kids in a special way.”
Mission accomplished? Yeeeeesh.