Paterno should be fired and Penn State should be ashamed

It was supposed to be a good weekend for college football with the top two teams in the nation facing off against each other, and although the game was boring, last weekend was much more than a football game.

Saturday, Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, was indicted on felony charges for inappropriate contact with at least eight minors.

The two-year grand jury investigation brought over 40 counts against Sandusky, ranging from 1996 to 2009. The worst details include people walking past the former coach in the middle of lewd acts in the locker room showers with children as young as 10 years old and not contacting the authorities.

It is incomprehensible to listen to the accounts of graduate assistants reporting the lewd contact with young children to head football coach Joe Paterno and not to the proper authorities.

Sandusky was on Penn State’s campus as recently as last week according to ESPN, which is troublesome after a man in his mid-20s spoke to the Penn State student newspaper Tuesday, and told state police that he was victimized inside Penn State’s football facilities when he was younger.

Paterno is the face of Penn State and although he heard from a graduate assistant an eyewitness account of wrongdoing, he only notified the athletic department, and allowed Sandusky to continue his ways for almost another decade.

It’s a shame Sandusky was allowed to reach children for about eight years after the first reports of wrongdoing, and nearly unbelievable that he was caught in the act more than once, and didn’t face charges until much later.

Penn State needs to step up and do the right thing, which is to immediately dismiss legendary coach Paterno. The athletic director, Tim Curley, and another person in the university administration have already stepped down after being charged with failing to report the graduate assistant’s eyewitness account to authorities, and perjury for their testimonies in the grand jury.

Imagine how many children’s lives have been irrevocably changed for the worse. Although the grand jury found eight children, there is no doubt in my mind that number will double or triple within the next few weeks.

Paterno said he didn’t know the full extent, but how can you live with yourself if you hear these accusations and later see the same man hanging out with young children over the next couple of years?

If Paterno or people in the school’s administration that heard the eyewitness accounts had contacted the police, how many children’s lives would have been impacted for the better?

Paterno announced Wednesday he was going to retire after the season and said the Board of Trustees shouldn’t spend a minute discussing his status. However, why does Paterno deserve to coach for the rest of the regular season and a bowl game?

Yes, he is one of the best coaches in the country, but this scandal goes beyond the football field. Several children became victims due to the Penn State football program, and even when brought with some of the details, Paterno turned the other cheek.

In a time when people are complaining about the BCS system, recruiting violations and conference alignment changes, this should remind everyone that football is just a game.

Former Nittany Lion and All-American defensive tackle, Matt Millen, said it best on ESPN when speaking about the scandal and his former coach–”If we can’t protect our kids, we as a society are pathetic.”