Joseph Vincent Paterno, is a legendary college football coach. He coached the Penn State Nittany Lions for 46 years and holds the record for most victories out of any Division I football coach. The Big Ten even decided to name it's championship trophy in his honor. However, all the fuzzy feelings about Coach Paterno and his exceptional career came to an abrupt halt in November 2011 when he was fired mid-season, after one of his prior assistants, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of sexually abusing boys.
According to ESPN.com, Paterno apparently claims that he told athletic director, Tim Curley, and university vice president, Gary Schultz, about an alleged sexual assault by the former defensive coordinator. The coach apparently felt that fulfilled his obligations as a supervisor. But this explanation did not sit well with the media or public given the gravity of the accusations against Sandusky.
The most efficient decision for Penn State would have been if Paterno had offered to resign immediately. Instead, Paterno offered to retire at the end of the season, which resulted in Penn State officials firing him immediately with no reimbursement. The dismissal originally prompted many students to gather near the campus chanting “We want Joe,” as stated by NFL.com. Witnesses said the students knocked over a van and lamppost, were throwing bottles and rocks.However, once students learned of the facts and the alleged victims plight, the protests stopped.
In the end, Joe Paterno was fired because he did too little. He didn't call the police and he failed to make sure the people he told about the incident took care of the situation. Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office, told ABC News that Joe Paterno is a cooperating witness who testified and provided a truthful testimony. However, the spokesperson also told ABC News that two others may have committed perjury before the grand jury. These individuals legal expenses will likely be reimbursed by Penn State. As if the cost of education is not high enough. One wonders just how much of the expense of such inappropriate behavior will become a burden on students paying tuition.
Update 1-22-12: Joe Paterno died today. He was 85.
Update 6-18-12: Sandusky is on trial. See the 6-18-12 thread on Sandusky.