Joe Paterno, head football coach of Penn State for 45 years, is finally retiring from college football “at the end of the season” (his words, not the schools.) However, it’s not exactly a cheery retirement, as it turns out a member of his staff from years ago is being charged with 40 counts of sexual child abuse on 8 boys over a 15 year period. Paterno, found out about these incidents in 2002, brought them to his supervisors at the school and left it at that. The school did what it could to cover-up the incidents, all the while Paterno seems to have ignored the issues by not bringing it to the attention of the proper authorities. Many(most) are calling for Paterno’s resignation immediately, while few others would like to see him finish the season, as his decades of service owe him that.
While I find it hard to be mad at an 84 year old man who has been incredibly important to Penn State and to the NCAA football program in general, the crime committed far outweighs a tenure of any length. I can’t think of a more disappointing exit for a man with a track record such as his. I was starting to think that college football has seen the worst of it in the last decade; with agent-to-player payments, school-to-player payments, bribery, student felonies, and so much more. Unfortunately, this brings scandal in the NCAA to a whole new level. Luckily for the league, money talks and everything will always work out in the billion dollar market it capitalizes. Its moral standing (the little it has left) on the other hand still has a lot to answer for, and remains on a shakier ground than ever.
I predict/hope he has coached his final game.
UPDATE – Not 30 minutes after I post this, it becomes official: Paterno is out.