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Penn State Football: The Biggest Scandal in Sports History

Joe Paterno
Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno watches his final team practice. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Forget all-time baseball hit king Pete Rose, figure skater Tanya Harding, and former NBA referee Tim Donaghy. Forget the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, the 1950 CCNY basketball team, the SMU Mustang football teams of the early 1980s, or the recent Ohio State and Miami football incidents. The recent events at State College, Pennsylvania has rocked the Penn State football program, and we have a 50-yard line seat for the biggest scandal in sports history.

In just a few days, the Nittany Lions exemplary football program has been turned upside down. At the center of the controversy is former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, at one time considered one of the best defensive minds in college football. Sandusky, who retired in 2002, allegedly sexually abused young boys over a 15-year period, if not longer. This story also involves a legendary head football coach in Penn State’s Joe Paterno, who recently became the all-time winningest in Division 1 history, accused of mishandling the Sandusky situation years earlier. Joe Pa was fired by his school’s Board of Trustees last night after he announced his retirement just hours earlier. A Penn State fan base revered as some of the nicest people in all of college football, transformed into an angry mob scene where thousands of students rioted in the streets of State College to protest their head coach’s sudden firing. The scariest thing about the Penn State scandal is that the worst is yet to come.

There are so many questions still unanswered. How many young boys were sexually abused by Sandusky? Were any of them present or former football players at Penn State? How much did Paterno and other high ranking Penn State offficials really know about Sandusky’s crimes? How could the Penn State administration allow Sandusky to use their football facilities even after he ”retired” from coaching 9 years ago?

Currently, the state attorney general is conducting an investigation of the  Sandusky case, and there is no telling who will get indicted by a grand jury. Could Paterno get indicted after all? Will Penn State finish their season? Will the university self-impose a suspension of football operations until the conclusion of the investigation? There are so many details that are yet to come out, that it is anyone’s guess if the Penn State football program will be able to survive the damage to their once-stellar reputation. Stay tuned.

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