Ever since I started drilling down into the Penn State situation, I’ve had a nagging feeling that we may only be seeing the tip of a very ugly iceberg that may, in the end, make the immediate and unceremonious dumping of Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanial start to make more sense. I hope that the scenario I’m about to float is not true … but I’m worried it may be.
Jerry Sandusky was the heir apparent to Joe Paterno and by all objective measurements, by the late 1990’s he was viewed as “the man” to follow Paterno. He’d been coaching at the school since 1969; he was still young (certainly by JoePa Penn State standards) and he bled Nittany Lion Blue.
We now know that in 1998 Sandusky came under suspicion of child molestation and admitted to showering with underaged boys. He was confronted by the mother of a boy who had been in contact with him, made a near confession, and the case was investigated by the campus police, the local DA, and the Pennsylvania Child Welfare. But nothing came of the investigation.
In 1998 Paterno informed Sandusky that he would NOT be the head coach when Paterno retires.
In 1999, Sandusky retired. He reportedly floated his resume and there were no takers. No takers for a coach who had 30 years experience under Joe Paterno?
What does all this add up to in the universe where conspiracy theories exist and are sometimes true?
It adds up to a situation in which knowledge of Sandusky’s proclivities was quite a bit more widespread than has been acknowledged thus far. It adds up to a situation where assistant coaches; grad assistants; maybe even some players and others were aware that Sandusky “had a problem”. It may turn out the Paterno telling Sandusky “you’re not the man” months after the 1998 incident is not a coincidence. It may turn out that Sandusky’s sudden retiremdnet a few months later was also not a coincidence. It may turn out that his failure to secure a job elsewhere is also not a coincidence. It may turn out that one of the reasons McQueary didn’t immediately call the police is because there was a general coverup of Sandusky’s “problem” already underway. And it may be that the whole context for McQueary’s report to Paterno, and Paterno’s report to Curley, was something other than “this is a bolt from the blue” that no one saw coming.
I hope all of this is not true, but I’m getting a sinking feeling it may be more than just paranoid ramblings.