Joe Paterno Needs to Step Down Now

I’ve avoided this story as it developed over the past few days because frankly, this transcends college football. What happened at Penn State is a crime of the worst kind involving a predator who prayed upon the trust of those he abused. I was also afraid that by writing on the incident, it would be too easy to fall into jokes and comments that trivialize the situation. But at some point, it becomes harder and harder to ignore the story and the response taking place.

As news came out today of Coach Paterno’s pending retirement at the end of the season we are also learning that as many as 17 victims have come forward against Jerry Sandusky and there may be more.  Although Penn State students and fans are quick to defend their beloved coach, how does he avoid implication in this story. The grand jury investigation began three years ago and Coach Paterno admits to knowing about the abuse as far back as 2002.

And although Coach Paterno may not have been directly involved in the cover up and may have properly reported his knowledge of the activities to his supervisors, what is most concerning are the reports that Sandusky remained a figure around the Penn State football program. He was provided an office at the university and used the weight room as recently as last week. This after The Second Mile charity had banned him from their programs in 2008 after Sandusky’s admission that he was under investigation for his actions.

Coach Paterno is an institution in college football. He has always stood for the good things that make college football great. It is nothing short of tragic to see him end his career on this note. Yes, it is entirely possibly that Coach Paterno refused to accept the accusations made about a close colleague and friend (although he does seem to accept that the incident in 2002 occured) but that does not excuse him. Even if he had absolutely no knowledge of Sandusky’s actions, which it appears he did, as the figure head that he is and his association with Sandusky he must accept the fact that he allowed a predictor such as Sandusky to maintain a role at the university. While the true blame lies with Sandusky and the administrators who allowed this to happen, Coach Paterno cannot wash his hands of the incident. As painful as it is for all involved (not talking victims here), in the best case scenario Coach Paterno’s ignorance does not excuse him from the problems within an organization that carries his name as a figure head above all others.

Although this was most likely Coach Paterno’s last season, the announcement of his retirement has been pushed forward because of the investigation at Penn State. But unless Coach Paterno steps down now and never again walks across the field as a coach at Penn State, Sandusky’s victims will be forced to endure the tears and admiration which will flow at what would be his last home game on Saturday. In his official statement announcing his retirement, Coach Paterno said that he wanted to “…finish the season with dignity…” and spend the rest of his life doing everything he can to help the university.

As painful as it may be to accept, the only way to do that would be to step down now. There will be time to give him a proper honor in the years to come.

Comments

  1. The People's Buckeye says

    I disagree, let him just finish this season. The community has been ravaged enough with media. There’s three games left and a bowl game. I don’t it’s asking much. When the season is over, then you clean house.

  2. He Must says

    He has to step down immediately. This isn’t even about football, it’s about responsibility and leadership.

  3. DAG says

    He needs to step down now. He has admitted he should have done more or handled things differently. If it had involved a child who was his relative would he have done things differently? This is not about players accepting gratuities or some other type of NCAA violation. The police are leading this investigation. As the list of victims grows, the perp will likely have bail increased or revoked.

    From the university’s perspective, this is about governance and compliance (laws, regulations, ethics, etc.). Accountability and responsibility cannot be applied at too high a level within the Penn State institution. Head coach, AD, university president, etc. This investigation is not over. If anyone above the level of the athletic department heard about this, they need to go. Now.

    Given the gravity of the situation it can only be a minor musing what a shame this has happened to such a respected institution and revered coach who has contributed so much to the sport.

  4. gulfportcarl says

    I personally don’t blame Joe, remember he is 85 years old. I put the blame on Mcquerry and the administration. How can you be a witness to such a unspeakable act and go call daddy? How does the administration let this go on for years? You all got your wish I just read that Joe was fired today along with the president of Penn State. Uunfortunately in a situation like this a lot of innocent people get caught up as the shit rolls down hill.

    • msbuck says

      Joe-pa was the most powerful dude on campus—he knew the score—he admits he should have done more—like everything else—multi-million dollar programs are protected—other people suffer and it does not matter—until the truth comes out—that’s why joe-pa has a high powered attorney—he could have made a difference in this case—but chose to hide behind the university “process”—keep the program alive and the millions coming in—while a 10 year old kid gets “nailed” by a “tough”? defensive coach—clean house—put them all in jail—even that is too good for them—in another day—they would be hanging by a rope in public—and children would be protected!!!!

    • msbuck says

      fine—another war–but this time the bucks need to discover the forward pass—quick—short—medium and long—and mix it with the run—the bucks won’t evolve until they clean house—bollman should be serving cokes to the alum—and we need D coach that can defend a spread offense—-the loss to purdue should be enough to clean house—the talent we have would win many championships with “real” coaching and players doing the right thing—but it’s all “big biz” now—and the fun is gone—I’ll wait until real college football comes back and maybe the bucks will have evolved—and joe-pa & co. will be in jail—!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. says

    Yep – The Urban controversy just got a lot more interesting…JoePa being ousted immediately.

    So – If tOSU was deep in talks, OR had a deal worked out pending completion of the season – that cat will be hauled out of the bag and I think we’d hear an announcement in the next couple of weeks.

    PSU is in a world of hurt…three kick ass games coming up, controversy awry – I feel for them. Oh wait that was our entire 2011 year – finally a true distraction away from tOSU, the Miami thing was close, but it died off pretty quick. I am tired about hearing “What sanctions will be next” and “That is why Urban won’t take the job, it’s those future sanctions” – PSU and JoePa will be the talking the point for at least 12 months with B1G conversations.

    Joe’s Legacy now jumbled…Woody recovered over time, what will the JoePa legacy be and how long until the controversy is forgotten? Took Woody 10 years at least…

    mikie

    • gulfportcarl says

      Urban was never coming to Ohio State, no way no how. Penn State doesn’t want him either,they are looking for another Jopa, someone who will come cheap and stay forever. Remember Joe was only made a little over a million for all his years he spent there as head coach. As far as Joe’s legacy it will be what it always has been he is JoePa to Penn State fans even those who was crying for his ouster. He had to go sometime I’m sad it has to be like this. Like I said before shit rolls down hill and Joe was at the bottom of the hill.
      It will take a long time for the stain of Jerry Sandusky to go away for sure. The administration let a pervert run wild on campus for years, shame on them.
      As far as Ohio State goes if luke can run the table even with the poor start I think the job is his, then he can bring in his own people especially a QB coach.

      • Not Alan says

        GPC-unfortunately the days of finding cheap coaching in college football and staying forever are likely gone. With fickle (Fickell) fans that want instant success, million dollar contracts, greedy agents and the NCAA governing body the college landscape has changed forever. If someone has 10 years with a top 25 team (historically speaking), that seems like a life time.

        A quick Google search shows the first 10 most tenured programs as follows as of 2011 (excluding Penn State. Wikipedia has already 86′d Joe Pa). I was somewhat surprised at the stats:

        Virginia Tech Hokies FrankFrank Beamer 1987
        Troy Trojans Larry Blakeney 1991
        Fresno State Bulldogs Pat Hill 1997
        Texas Longhorns Mack Brown 1998
        Oklahoma Sooners Bob Stoops 1999
        Iowa Hawkeyes Kirk Ferentz 1999
        TCU Horned Frogs Gary Patterson 2000
        Rutgers Scarlet Knights Greg Schiano 2001
        Wake Forest Demon Deacons Jim Grobe 2001
        Missouri Tigers Gary Pinkel 2001
        Georgia Bulldogs Mark Richt 2001
        Florida Atlantic Owls Howard Schnellenberger 2001
        California Golden Bears Jeff Tedford 2002
        Oregon State Beavers Mike Riley 2003
        Nevada Wolf Pack Chris Ault 2004
        UTEP Miners Mike Price 2004
        UCF Knights George O’Leary 2004

        I see VT, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, TCU and Georgia in this group with Frank Beamer at #1 and rounding out these teams are 3 coaches tenured from 2004 (that’s only 7 years tenure of the 10 most tenured programs). And I certainly wouldn’t call all of those big name programs perenial powers in the last 10-20 years (if you get my drift). And only Texas (2005) and Oklahoma (2000) have been crowned NC’s out of this group with their current coach.

        Click on this link and then click on the column “First Season” for a full list:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_NCAA_Division_I_FBS_football_coaches

        The Big 10 is going to suffer from the year known as 2011. Penn State, if impacted significantly, will suffer for 6-10 years for becoming a player at the national level, in my opinion.

        Looks like the SEC wins another NC this year. A sad year indeed for me this season but with glimmering hope. When is the NCAA going to rule whether tOSU is post season elgible?

        • DAG says

          SEC recruiting is only going to get stronger with the addition of Texas A&M. State of TX will now be in play. I hope there is some shuffling of the divisions within the conference, would like to see Alabama and LSU separated.

          One interesting difference between the SEC and the Big Ten. At any of the BCS championship games when the SEC has played, regardless of the team, you will hear a conference chant in the stands. It goes beyond one team. I’m not sure the Big 10 or OSU would do the same. It seems to be tighter conference when playing on the national stage.
          We’ll see if the SEC makes it back to the championship game. LSU has Arkansas in Baton Rouge, which is to their favor.

  6. gulfportcarl says

    I must admit I felt sorry for old Joe until more and shit comes out on Jerry Sandusky and his
    kid farm. I heard some more information this weekend when people I have talked to told me this is only the tip of the iceburg. It was brought to my attention that Jerry Sandusky and his organization were renting kids out to big money boosters. When this info is brought out Penn State may have to shut down their football program.

  7. says

    Sara Ganim has an excellent story outlining all of the missed opportunities to stop Sandusky dating back to the 1995. Reading her story it is almost impossible to believe that there wasn’t a coverup. http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/11/who_knew_what_about_jerry_sand.html

    Mark Madden is the one who started talking about Sandusky and Second Mile pimping out kids to high paying donors. In another interview, he went so far as to say that Sandusky was offered a cover up in exchange for his retirement. These are both highly speculative rumors but Maddan was also the guy who wrote about the investigation 6 months ago.

    The retirement story really plays into the reported conversation between Paterno and Sandusky regarding Sandusky stepping into Paterno’s head coaching position. Not sure where the link to that one is right now but the story I read was that Paterno told Sandusky that it was either the coaching job or the Charity. Head coach didn’t allow time for both. Put that conversation in the context of what we know now, it sure does sound like a read between the lines sort of thing.

    Here is the link to the Maddan story:
    http://www.nesn.com/2011/11/jerry-sandusky-rumored-to-have-been-pimping-out-young-boys-to-rich-donors-says-mark-madden.html

    • gulfportcarl says

      Great articles Jim, I quess my people new what they were talking about. One more point , they can prove this crossed State line that should get the FBI involved, and what knowledge did the NCAA have about this? This is like time bomb ready to explode.
      Bad year for the Big Ten for sure.

        • gulfportcarl says

          Tony my people live in the area aqnd when they brought the infor maation to my attention I was in a tate of shock, Don’t expect any names, I don’t give that kind if info to anyone. Believe it because when it come out you heard it from me first.

  8. says

    Take it a step further to Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. He said in his post game press conference that he thought the game should have never been played. I couldn’t agree more. Meant to post on that and Purdue game today but haven’t been able to get to it.

  9. joebuck says

    OHIO /PENN STATE DEBATE

    Who do you like in the Ohio State-Penn State game?
    I have to pick?
    For once, a game really means something and you don’t want to pick?
    OK, I’ll take Penn because they fired their coach right away, Paterno got paid only a sixth of
    Tressel’s salary and none of his players were involved in the scandal.
    But no children were involved at Ohio State. Give them credit for that.
    Good point, but Penn State was more of a criminal thing that could happen anywhere.
    Like big time stuff on the news every night. Unlike the trading of tattoos for OSU jerseys and
    paraphernalia, which was strictly campus misbehavior and unmonitored.
    So, in your book, a minor NCAA violation is worse than a felony?
    No, but the felony is eventually going to be dealt with by the police wherever it occurs.
    Ohio State was allowing players to profit with no end in sight.
    The players were broke while the university cashed in. They only got a little spending money.
    That’s no excuse. They are getting free training and probably housing unless they flunk out,
    or get kicked out. That is their compensation.
    You would have loved slavery.
    Slaves didn’t have a chance at the NFL in their day.
    Oh, today they have about a 2 or 3% chance.
    Look, the world is wide open to them after graduation. They can open their own tattoo parlor
    or go on to some other greatness.
    Like use that degree in physical education for a job at the gym?
    Exactly. No one is expecting any rocket scientists out there Saturday. 100,000 people
    aren’t going to show up for a game of chess.
    I just wish there could be a little more accent on education.
    This whole thing IS education. Weekend education–socialization, networking, the agony
    and ecstasy under an autumn sky smelling of barbecue and beer. What more could you want?
    A emotional victory of some sort. A tie would be nice. Maybe root for the Buckeyes, feel sorry
    for the Lions and forget about books and weekday learning.
    You got it. No books. Real college is about chances–with sex, with roommates, tastes, opinions,
    diversity, even the NFL! You can do your thinking when you get out of there.
    Ideally, couldn’t Nike and the NFL just buy some choice universities toat least maintain
    the illusion of higher education while operating their plantation system?
    If the networks, cable and the casinos chipped in, definitely. It might even help with paying
    off all this student debt.
    So why don’t they Just Do It?
    Imagine the antitrust cases. A giant horizontal and vertical monopoly controlling the nation’s gambling,
    education, media and sports.
    Who is going to fight it, Obama? He gets half the pay of these university presidents. What does he know?
    True. If he was really smart, he’d have a football team.

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  1. [...] further actions will also result in 40+ years of memories for the victims. I wrote earlier that Coach Paterno needed to step down. The more I hear about the situation and the more I think about it, the more I feel that Penn State [...]