Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Demise of Happy Valley: The Penn State Story

On January 22, 2012, I wrote a post regarding the Penn State situation, entitled Paying Homage to One of the Greatest of All Time: Joe Paterno as the second post on the "Fountain City Sports Authority," the predecessor to the blog you are reading today.

 I said, and I quote, "Yet what Joe loved so much, Penn State, is what led to the events today and why I even writing this post. Without a doubt, what Jerry Sandusky, the man who was once tabbed to be head coach after Paterno retired, did is absolutely inexcusable and will probably spend a long time in jail for it. But at this point, the board of trustees at Penn State should be following Sandusky to the cell. I can understand the need to make change, but the way it was done, to fire a man who gave this university his life after college, who brought so much good to the university, because his higher UPS didn't open their mouths after he reported what happened to them? You didn't just fire the signed his death warrant. When you take the one thing that a man loves away, whether it be a wife, a job, a home, what does he live for afterwards? The thing is, the man typically doesn't live much longer. And in Paterno's case, he had two of the three taken from him. Someone said on SportsCenter (I believe it was Lou Holtz) today that once he was fired, he wouldn't live six months. They were wrong. He didn't make it three.
But his legacy shall not be tarnished by what happened the last four months of 2011. His legacy is DEFINED by the 40+ years before that as the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions.
So Joseph Vincent Paterno, you may finally rest in peace. No one wanted you to leave, but now you can lead God's team to the National Championship in the sky. I don't think there is a argument, you were, are and always will be the greatest coach in college football.
Rest in Peace, Joe Pa. You touched so many lives. You've done so much. Thank You may never be enough, but for lack of a better term, Thank You."

That was before July 17, 2012. It will forever be known as the day that Happy Valley, State College, PA and the campus of Pennsylvania State University were shaken to the core. That was the day, last Tuesday, when the Freeh report, a investigation into the Jerry Sandusky case and the handling of the case by Penn St. officials, including Paterno, was released by former FBI director Louis Freeh. Honestly, the findings of this investigation still shock me, nearly 8 days removed. The gist: Paterno, along with then-President of Penn St. Graham Spanier, then-AD Tim Curley and Senior VP of Business and Finance Gary Schultz knew what Jerry Sandusky had done and still was doing to children. According to the report itself, "The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.
Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University – President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President‐Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno – failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”

Ok. Let that soak in. The man who millions looked up to had been hiding what is slowly becoming the biggest coverup in recent college history. 

July 22, 2012, Sunday, the most glaring feature in State College, PA came down. Paterno's statue outside of Beaver Stadium, the gridiron that he strolled for decades, came down. The walls surrounding it came down today. As of this writing, there is no remains of the area. 

July 23, 2012, yesterday. The NCAA added insult to the grave injury already suffered...

  • 4 year postseason ban, including the Big 10 Championship Game
  • Reduction of scholarships, 25 to 15 per year, max out at 65 over the 4 year term
  • $60 Million Dollar Fine, to which will benefit child abuse charities
  • Vacation of all wins (111) from 1998-2011, which makes Paterno now 7th (was 1st) on all time wins list
  • Any current Penn St. player has until August 2013 to transfer to ANY school and WILL NOT have to sit out the year, per NCAA rules. 
In addition, the Big 10 announced that the school will not get any bowl revenues. An estimated $13 million loss, also going to charity. 

It has become clear, that the legacy that I wrote about 6 months and one day ago has been absolutely torched. As if someone dropped napalm and the A-Bomb on it. Yeah. He won 409 games (even though the records will show 298) and got 300 NFL stars. But, and this will always be there from now on. As a good a guy Joe Paterno was, may God rest his soul, as a good a guy he was, he screwed up big time. No, better yet, he F*%$ED UP. He let, under his watch, a sexual predator, deviant, pervert continue to permanently scar these kids lives forever. 

I feel bad for the players, yeah the seniors don't get a bowl game opportunity, others don't get it. But, people, how do you think those kids feel? Unless you have been made to perform sexual actions against your will, you have no freaking idea how they feel. Even though Sandusky will rot behind a jail cell for the rest of his life, there is no way to relieve the pain and trauma that Sandusky caused. 

Sandusky has killed Paterno's legacy, the immediate future for the Penn St. football program, the careers of Spanier, Schultz and Curley and most of all, I believe he has dealt a serious haymaker to the heart of "Happy Valley" and I don't think it can recover quickly. It's sad and tragic. 

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