Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Joe Paterno Fired; Will There Be a Game on Saturday?

WTF were you thinking,
Joe Paterno?
Earlier this summer, I speculated that as long as Joe Paterno was physically able to be head coach, he'd remain as Penn State's head coach. But I never anticipated anything like what has emerged in recent days at Penn State.  Two weeks ago, JoePa won his 409th game; now he's fired. And despite what a bunch of rioting morons might think on the Penn State campus might think, it's a firing that absolutely had to happen.

The revelations that some people knew that Jerry Sandusky was allegedly raping young boys in 1998 is simply inconceivable.  It's inconceivable that Paterno didn't know what was going on then, especially when you consider that Sandusky's retirement in 1999 caught people by surprise.  The revelation that assistant coach Mike McQueary was witness to one especially dramatic attack is even more mind-numbing. How could this situation have been allowed to continue for years afterwards?  How many other children have been victimized due to the negligence of Penn State's coaches and administrators?

CNN and MSNBC are breaking into their primetime coverage to show Penn State students rioting, while ESPN's talking heads are trying to come go grasps as to what has just happened.  Bottom line is that there are apparently 20 or more young men who have been scarred for life by a monster, and an institution that let the monster run free for the last thirteen years.

Oh, by the way, that institution's next opponent? Nebraska.

Or that's what the schedule currently shows. I think that there is a serious doubt that a game can be played on Saturday.  It's not just Dirk Chatelain, the World-Herald's resident muck-raker.  It's Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.  It's even former Sporting News/Rivals/Yahoo writer Tom Dienhart, who now works for BTN.  That's right, a writer for the network owned and operated by the Big Ten Conference is suggesting the game be cancelled.

It's not because the team and players need to be punished. They had absolutely nothing to do with this; they are innocent victims as well. It's because the institution is in disarray.  The president of the University has been fired, the coach has been fired.  The athletic director is charged with perjury.  Students are rioting in State College at this moment. And lost in all of this uproar are a bunch of young men who had their innocence taken away by a monster.

How possibly can Penn State host a football game under these circumstances?

From a football perspective, I don't know what a forfeit or cancellation would mean. Nebraska's already one game behind Michigan State in the Big Ten's west division, and needs to win out (and have Michigan State lose a game) to advance to Indianapolis.  How would a forfeit count if Sparty loses?  That would be a tough call for Jim Delaney to make.  But frankly, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Some things are more important than football.

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