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PSU Removes The Disease – Must Kill The Cancer

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michael roush / flickr

Credit the Board of Trustees of Penn State University for taking swift action in firing head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier amid the growing furor over how the school handled sex abuse allegations against a former assistant coach, but this story is still not over and as the school removes what contributed to a disease, they still have to kill the cancer that is left.

The Jerry Sandusky scandal has revealed that he’s charged with sexual abuse of 40 young boys dating all the way back to 1997.  Sadly there may be more coming from Sandusky’s  “The Second Mile” – rumors are starting to creep in that this foundation for at-risk kids may have been “pimping” out the kids.  Again this is only been rumored, but if this comes to fruition the entire school may go down in flames.

The first shot was fired by PSU by saying that nobody is bigger than the university.  “Joe Pa” has been the face, the icon, and the driving force of the school for 46 years – so much so there was a story that several years back the trustees came to his house to fire him and he told them to get lost.  Yes he has had that kind of power in “Happy Valley”.

The university cannot stop with this.  The next step is to clean the house completely.  You don’t cure a cancer without killing the entire root or removing every trace of it, or else it will just come back.

When you look at the assistant coaches of Joe Paterno’s staff, they have been loyal Nittany Lions for many years: Dick Anderson – 34 years, Bill Kenney – 24 years, Jay Paterno – 17 years,  John Thomas – 20 years, and the new interim head coach Tom Bradley – 33 years.  This means they did work with at one point the former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.  Notice that we have heard nothing from any one of them?  Nobody knows nothing about Sandusky, yet they worked cloely with him at some point during their history at Penn State?

Then there is Jeff McQueary – the assistant at the heart of the 2002 incident with Sandusky and a young boy in the shower.  McQueary saw the incident in question, informed Paterno, not the police, but did give a grand jury deposition that outlines what he observed, and yet did nothing to stop it.

The focus is off Paterno, and now on McQueary who is believed to want to give his story but is currently under investigation.  For the good of the school and to quiet all of this down a bit, the next step is to ask McQueary to step aside for the good of the university.  He’s not doing any good staying in the spotlight right now.

While were at it, why doesn’t the university remove the other coaches mentioned above?  I know that in this country we are innocent until proven guilty, but in the court of public opinion these men had to have known something was not right with Sandusky and did nothing.  We cannot believe anything else – nobody is talking.  Penn State cannot get this to die down unless ALL ties that could be traced to the Paterno/Sandusky era is cut completely.

Galen Hall is only one of two current assistant coach on the staff without ties before the 2002 incident.  Yes he is a former Lion player (early 60s), but his coaching resume does not have deep ties to PSU: a longtime assistant coach at Oklahoma (’66-’83), a successful head coach at Florida after stepping in for a head coach slapped with 107 NCAA violations (40-18-1 record from 1984 to mid-’89), has been a head coach in the former NFL Europe (winning 2 league titles in ’98 and 2000 for the Rhein Fire), Arena League, and the XFL, plus a former Dallas Cowboys assistant.

A Pennsylvania guy growing up, Hall has the resume to be the interim head coach at least.  Why no chance since his U. of Fla. stint?  Voilation involving Hall paying several of his assistants out of his own pocket as well as paying the legal expenses related to the child-support obligations of one of his players (still denies the latter charge to this day).  Wouldn’t Penn State have Hall in the spotlight to take some of the glare of the program?

Now there is still the issue of the student body who do not seem to understand why “Joe Pa” was fired.  Why doesn’t the university educate then?  Make is a required gathering of the student body to be informed exactly what has happened.  Paterno is God up there, but now it’s the responsibility of the school to educate in this matter.  Maybe with more info for them could have avoided the scene in State College with the students taking to the streets.

With the university in transition under major extenuating circumstances, the NCAA should consider giving the Nittany Lion football players the opportunity to transfer to another program if they are not comfortable at Penn State with all that has happen, and be allowed to not have to sit out a year upon transfer.  The players should not be punished in this situation.

The players should have a chance to play this year, but with the scenario I’m creating the coaching staff would only be 2.  I’m sure the school can contact some alum to help in this situation to get these players through the season.  The first call should go to Matt Millen – ESPN analyst, former PSU defensive tackle and former Detroit Lions General Manager (and my pick for future Athletic Director).

The punishment for Penn State should hurt the school in the one place they seem to care about – the wallet!  A post-season bowl berth for the school means significant money, and a berth into the BCS Bowl Series game means millions.  The money from the school for the next 10 years should be donated to the many organizations who help kids who have suffered abuse.

The bottom line here is that Penn State need to take an active approach to insure that nothing like what Jerry Sandusky did will ever happen again at the university.  Kill this cancer!

 

 

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