Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The initial shock of the Penn State football scandal has worn off, so where do we go from here?In the coming days, weeks, and months, the shift will focus on three primary questions.
- How much deeper does the scandal run?
- What legal action will the victims and their families take against the university and the coaches and officials involved?
- Who is the next coach of Penn State? And what type of program will he inherit?
Obviously, the third question is the least important aspect of this story. But from a sports prospective, it’s the one people will be focusing on.
How much deeper does the scandal run?
The bombshell rumour that Sandusky “pimped out young boys to rich donors” has yet to evolve into something more substantial. But there are rumblings that it’s on the attorney general’s radar, and a few journalists are looking into it as well.
In addition to these rumours, the number of alleged victims in this case has doubled since the charges were announced. That means there could be more to this story — more alleged abuses, more incidents that should have been reported to the police, and more people who knew but never came forward.
There’s also big, outstanding questions for the people involved. What did Mike McQueary see? What did he tell Joe Paterno he saw? Why didn’t McQueary go to the police immediately? What did Joe know?
One day, these answers will come out. But don’t expect these people to talk about so-called “other half” of the story until the legal issues are sorted out.
Another aspect of this scandal that should become clearer is the infrastructure by which Sandusky’s alleged abuses were hidden from the police. We know about the alleged 2002 cover up. But if there was a more extensive network of people who knew about Sandusky, those names and details will surely come out.
What legal action will the victims and their families take against the university and the coaches and officials involved?
Everyone expects PSU and the people involved in the alleged cover up to get sued like crazy.
Moody’s even placed the university’s credit rating under review as they assess the legal liabilities it faces.
It is in these civil suits that the likes of Paterno and McQueary — who avoided criminal charges — will be taken to task for failing in the “moral obligation” to report the alleged abuses, as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett termed it on Meet The Press this weekend.
Who is the next coach of Penn State? And what type of program will he inherit?
As the scandal becomes more of a CourtTV story than an ESPN story, this will be the aspect that sportswriters focus on.
Penn State hasn’t had a head coaching vacancy in 46 years (!).
Before this scandal, it was one of better-looking jobs in the country.
With a huge fan base, an enormous stadium, and a small fortune with which to pay coaches, it seemed that PSU could land a big-name coach.
But after Sandusky, you can throw all of that out the window.
Lawsuits could cripple the program financially, a potential NCAA investigation could put the team on probation, and the bad press from the scandal has already caused top-tier recruits to run to reconsider their commitments.
Whoever takes the job will have to be an outsider — someone who never met Jerry Sandusky. And he’ll be tasked with both managing the aftermath of the crisis, and rebuilding a program that has been blown to bits.
The Jerry Sandusky trial begins with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 7. But the trial itself is just one aspect of this terrifying and deepening scandal.
Questions remain, and it’s clear that this thing is far from over.
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