CNN busts Penn State cover-up wide open


AP Photo/Jim Prisching

Happy Valley is such a sad place these days.

CNN put on their news hats and dug through countless emails between Penn State officials after they found out former coach Jerry Sandusky had been sexually assaulting young boys in the Nittany Lions’ locker room. Sandusky has been convicted on 45 counts of abusing 10 boys.

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The emails were sent between former PSU President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley (who is still employed by the university) and former vice president Gary Schultz. After graduate assistant Mike McQueary told head coach Joe Paterno about the situation he witnessed between Sandusky and a young boy, Paterno allegedly passed the information on to his higher-ups — Spanier, Curley and/or Schultz, presumably.

The men (and I use that term loosely) originally decided, according to CNN, to go forth in reporting Sandusky to authorities, but then Curley changed his mind a night later and emailed Spanier to suggest they don’t go public with the issue. Curley said he was “uncomfortable” with their plan, and instead wanted to work with Sandusky, if Sandusky cooperated.

Spanier agreed, saying the plan to keep things quiet would be “humane and a reasonable way to proceed.”

Humane. And reasonable.

If it wasn’t enough to see the awful aspects of Sandusky’s trial develop, now we have the image in our heads of boys having their childhood ripped away from them and multiple university officials looking away and allowing it to continue. Even after Sandusky was removed from the coaching staff, he was still allowed on campus and even inside the football facilities for another decade.

Now, about Paterno.

He claimed that after he reported McQueary’s story to his bosses, the matter wasn’t brought to his attention again, until the investigation began. Guess what? Curley said, in an email, that his “change in plans” about taking the allegations to authorities came after discussing the matter with Paterno.

So did Paterno talk Curley out of going to the police? We’ll probably never know.

But he did talk. And that’s something Paterno said he didn’t do.

Yesterday, Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com called for the removal of Paterno’s statue on Penn State’s campus, and I’m inclined to agree with him. We should revere people who do the right thing, and every time the media digs, it looks less and less like Paterno was doing the right thing.

The NCAA might get involved, sooner or later. We all thought they couldn’t drop the old “Lack of Institutional Control” penalty on the Penn State program, but would they consider it now? Is it going to send the right message if they punish the football team in 2012, even though they didn’t have anything to do with the situation?

Could they vacate Paterno’s wins?

It’s food for thought. The NCAA might look worse having Paterno holding their most-cherished college football record than they would stripping him of it because of something that happened off-the-field.

Sad.

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