Tuesday, November 8th, 2011...3:42 pm

Penn St. and Joe Paterno

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We would be remiss if we did not mention the unfortunate incident(s) at Penn State University. The scandal has spread far beyond the world of NCAA Football, into both the legal realm and the consciousness of the entire nation. The details of the events surrounding this situation are available from many sources, so we will not spend time recounting them. Suffice it to say, there was significant wrongdoing, and the blame should probably be spread amongst multiple actors/entities. Charges were recently leveled against not only the alleged wrongdoer, but also two Penn St. Administrators.

The big news from today was that legendary Penn St. football coach Joe Paterno was scheduled to address the media at 12:30. First, Penn St. indicated questions would be limited solely to its upcoming game with Nebraska (where Penn St. has an opportunity to solidify its position at the top of its division in the Big 10 race). Then reports indicated that Paterno would address all questions, which would undoubtedly focus exclusively on the scandal. At some point this morning, Penn St. officials decided not to allow Paterno to take the podium and canceled the news conference. (Also in that article is links to 3 articles further analyzing the situation).

Paterno’s son Scott said the decision was made by University President Graham Spanier and motivated by the “legal circumstances” that accompany this situation. How true that assessment is, I cannot say, but I do believe that this is not the right move for the Penn St. Administration. At this point, significant damage has already been done, and the attention surrounding this incident is NOT going away. Shielding the interest parties from the media is only going to continue to increase the outrage. At this point, their best bet is to get Paterno and the President out in front of the cameras and get passt the first stage of this story.

Currently, much of the discussion in the sports world is about Paterno’s role: How much did he know? When did he know? Why didn’t he do more? Joe has to answer those questions. He had already been cleared of criminal wrongdoing. (As far as a civil suit, who knows what will happen, but in all likelihood there will be several lawsuits and Penn St. will probably have to settle. The bad publicity from a public trial would be reason enough to settle.)

The earlier report has since been updated to say that a potential departure of Joe Paterno is in the works. The New York Times is now reporting that Paterno could be out in weeks, or even days. Such a precipitous fall for a man who as of a few days ago was considered one of the greatest figures in college sports. More is certain to surface in the coming days, but for now it looks really, really bad for everyone involved.

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