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A Week Of Horror In Happy Valley

Rob Carr, Getty Images

Even after a 24 hour news cycle covering the Penn State scandal for 5 days now, this is still a story that has me picking up my jaw from the ground.

And still, we are left with questions and pleas of transparency from an esteemed university that has left everything to be desired with their handling of this scandal.

What has allegedly taken place at Penn State University, however, transcends any possible storyline you have ever heard before as a person. This is one of America’s finest academic institutions with an elite athletic program, and a man who is revered as a god-like figure at the school. And these allegations say he housed the horror in his backyard.

The details of Joe Paterno’s former top lieutenant, Jerry Sandusky’s alleged behavior are so hideous and at this point, out there, that they do not need to be rehashed.

This is not a sports story or scandal, in the least. This is a story of morals, and hopefully justice. Unfortunately, much of this issue is at a stalemate until a decision is made on what will happen to Coach Joe Paterno, and a press conference is held to discuss exactly what he knew.

The Tuesday Theatrics

Joe Paterno is not just the football coach…he IS Penn State University, and he IS State College, Pennsylvania. This story should be about the healing of the victims and the punishment of Jerry Sandusky, should he be found guilty. Until the Penn State board determines what to do with Joe Paterno, he will hover above and impede the next steps of the investigation.

The issue of whether to clean house beginning with School President Graham Spanier and Paterno is being argued across the country and debated among Penn State alumni. Townsquare Media NJ Sports Director Kevin Williams is an alum, and has sent his children to the school. Williams says that cleaning house is never an easy thing to do, but unfortunately it might be the best thing.

“I think on the surface that it’s safe to say that anyone who knew what was going on or had an inkling that there was a “problem” with Jerry Sandusky will be removed. The Board of Trustees has to adopt the philosophy that no person is bigger than the university. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to insure the future at PSU is better than what’s happening right now”

While it has been a circus in State College, PA for many days now, I cannot remember a more bizarre day in news than what took place yesterday. Knowing that a calvary of national media was descending on the school for Paterno’s weekly press conference, the school waited till an hour before to cancel it. In between, there were conflicting reports on his future, and it all ended with a student rally outside of the coach’s home, where he held a court to a throng of student supporters.

What Happens Next?

The allegations continue to pile up against Jerry Sandusky, with more and more victims coming forward.

Adding to the chaos at the college is Senior Day on Saturday, and the team’s final home game of the season. With media already camped out at the school waiting for answers, this creates the perfect storm. This is why it is imperative for the school to do something.

“The university has to send a message that the action (or in-action) that resulted in what they are now dealing with is unacceptable,” Williams explained, “That (cleaning house) might be the only way to show that they are serious in their mission.”

Joe Paterno’s son, Scott, said on Twitter that the coach wanted to address the issue, but the school pulled the plug on the press conference.

And the silence, outside of a few words at his home, has led to more intrigue about the same questions. What does the coach know? How far does this go? And will he coach the team’s final home on Saturday against Nebraska.

“From a sports standpoint, this is a difficult question and one that will divide those inside and outside the football program, university and everywhere else. I think there needs to be some concern for the members of the current team, who are having a better than expected season. It also Senior Day at Penn State, which is a time-honored tradition”

And as sun rises on another day in “Happy Valley,” no prognosticator can possibly predict what today and the rest of a wild week will have in store. The university needs to step up and turn this story, and make it about the heinous crimes that may have been committed.

Until then, a great American institution and its proud is having its name dragged through the mud over what one man may have done, and what an administration may have looked the other way from.

“Certainly the image of the school is going to suffer, and for those students there now, this will be a difficult time. However like all stories, there is a news cycle, and at some point, when all the TV crews and reporters leave, the university will begin the task of rebuilding things”

The eyes and attention of the nation will be on the small Pennsylvania town until answers start coming out.

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