You have to wonder what would've happened if that eye-witness had told his superiors at Penn State he'd witnessed the former coach buying new tires for a recruit's car. Now that might've got somebody's attention real quick, not years later. Because it's an NCAA violation. You could lose scholarships that way. And maybe a good player to Michigan State. Can't have that. But abusing young boys? Just something to be reported up the chain of command. No big deal.
If JoePa had been allowed to coach another game after this story broke, you'd know Penn State had failed in its stewardship. Instead it upheld its standards, and its name. The school recognized its duty to act in loco parentis -- in place of the parent. That's an old-fashioned standard but the powers that be at Penn State, namely its board of trustees, upheld it by cleaning house. All the way to the top. Good for them. It's a standard that needs to be revived nationwide.
The moral of the story: There is still honor in college athletics. At Penn State, anyway. Here's hoping its board's firm action in this affair doesn't prove the exception in college sports but a new rule. Or rather an old one revived. It's called the Do Right Rule.
Count me among the many thousands, maybe millions, who long admired, applauded and -- I admit it -- loved Joe Paterno. He seemed the embodiment of everything that used to be fine in college sports as he made sure his student athletes were students first, the kind who graduate. In every other way he seemed to adhere to the code of a gentleman. And now this.
Sad. And if I'm disappointed in anybody more than Joe Paterno, who at 84 had earned the respect of fans far beyond Happy Valley, it's in myself. So much for my being a judge of character.
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