By Larry Pritchett
Past PCHS Activities Director
Last week this column had comments on how tough coaching can be. I referred to the Husker volleyball program that was going through some distractions because of the coach’s daughter having some problems driving, and obeying laws about stopping after an accident and how that affects her dad and decisions that he had to make for the good of his daughter and the team.
Now that problem doesn’t even sound like a problem at all if you are Penn State football coach, university president, athletic director of board on trustees.
The firestorm that erupted at Happy Valley trumps anything that happened at USC with Reggie Bush or at Ohio State with the sale of OSU trinkets or swapping stuff for tattoos!
The alleged sex scandal that involves former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and a number of young boys has already caused some people their jobs, including the University President Graham Spanier, and long-time iconic head football coach Joe Paterno.
I would be willing to bet that there will be more firing, as the true details are just starting to come to light.
A lot of people have sounded off on what should have been done, but my take is that nobody but the people involved really know what happened, when it happened and who told who what and when.
The biggest question is even knowing what little we know at this time, why wasn’t something done quicker and why was this allowed to last over a period of years? If you read the Grand Jury report, and it is not easy reading, I think most people will feel that the Penn State Board of Trustees did the correct thing last week when they fired Spanier and Paterno.
This was a problem that started in the late 90s and was allowed to continue for way too long. Coach Paterno stated that he “wished he’d done more” and that leads one to believe that he knew enough to have gotten it stopped.
Former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer probably came as close to the truth as anyone when he said, “Everyone on that staff had to have known, the ones that had been around a long time.” “You think that a 13-year assistant…hasn’t told someone else?” He commented, “His wife? His father? People knew, the community knew.”
The football game on Saturday played out like any other football game, but it certainly wasn’t the most important thing of the week. We heard things like this would be a healing process starting, but if you think about it this thing is just getting started. Someone stated that Penn State is about 100 yards into a marathon.
There may be events in the future that could threaten the existence of the University. Civil Law suits probably will be abundant.
There are four agencies now starting investigations. One of those is the Federal Department of Education. Those are the people who hand out federal grants of money and because it appears that PSU didn’t report the crimes that were allegedly committed, they could lose millions of dollars of federal money. The cost of silence probably will be for the want of a better term, a lot of money!
I would like to think if something like that happened on my watch, there would be no hesitation about what should be done. At this time because all the facts are not in, you can only speculate on the correctness of what was done. Most people would say the Penn State people came up way short in that area.
It was a tough time for a lot of people. The young men who were violated by a person who should have been trusted should have been the prime concern. I am not sure they were but I hope that most people remember that was what this was all about.
Still, there were two football teams whose players had nothing to do with the situation and they were put into a position of having to play a football game. Both of the teams did a good job of getting that done.
I think Coach Pelini, Coach Brown and the rest of the Husker staff and players did a great job in the pregame situation. That is something you don’t see happening much in big time athletics.
It will take a long time for Happy Valley to live up to its name!