There has always been a romantic and unsubstantiated assumption of high moral character and strict adherence to the rules made for a select group of college coaches and programs. Joe Paterno and Penn State football, Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke basketball program, possibly Notre Dame football and a few other elite programs.
In reality of course, these elite programs and coaches are just better at cheating and better at covering up their misdeeds. When the most famous coach in America protected a child rapist FOR 40 YEARS! because his precious football program was more important than the health and well being of mere children, we know that college athletics as administered by the NCAA is irretrievably broken.
Penn State’s legal settlements with Jerry Sandusky’s accusers cover alleged abuse dating to 1971, which was 40 years before his arrest, the university said Sunday, providing the first confirmation of the time frame of abuse claims that have led to big payouts.
The disclosure came as Penn State President Eric Barron decried newly revealed allegations that former football coach Joe Paterno was told in 1976 that Sandusky had sexually abused a child and that two assistant coaches witnessed either inappropriate or sexual contact in the late 1980s. Paterno, who died in 2012, had said the first time he had received a complaint against Sandusky was in 2001.
Joe Paterno and his football program put Penn State on the national map. He turned it from a regional cow college into a nationally known powerhouse of athletics and in some cases academics. In the process he made many people rich and powerful, and stuffed the coffers of the university with unimaginable wealth. So a few — or few dozen — kids got raped? Eh….that’s a sacrifice that the coaches and administrators were willing to make.
There is too much money to be made, too much power to be wielded for any of these people to be assumed to be squeaky clean. Just extrapolate from covering up child rape. What is worse than that? What line won’t these people cross if the destruction of innocent children is an acceptable result of protecting and expanding their athletic brand? Cannibalism? Mass murder?
If Joe Paterno was willing to protect a monster doing monstrous things, then I have no doubt that breaking NCAA regulations and paying players and cheating in a myriad number of different ways was perfectly acceptable to him, and by extension acceptable to most other coaches in college athletics.