There were so many shocking, sickening allegations made against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in the grand jury’s presentment of findings against him, it’s hard for one thing to stand out. But the alleged instances of Sandusky molesting boys in showers on Penn State property – including years after he’d already stepped down from his coaching position? Those stood out. And so did the fact that Penn State didn’t do more than tell Sandusky not to bring boys to their facilities anymore, and take away his locker room keys.
And now, the questions about usage of Penn State facilities by the coaches involved in this scandal are only getting murkier. First, Sara Ganim of The Patriot-News reported that Sue Paterno, the wife of former head coach Joe Paterno, was denied access on Wednesday to a Penn State pool she frequently uses. No reason was given at the time (Joe Paterno, of course, was fired after the story broke, amid allegations he – along with several Penn State officials – acted insufficiently to stop Sandusky). Now, though, it seems that maybe Joe Paterno’s firing won’t lead to his wife being barred from Penn State facilities:
Now, the Paternos are talking with Intercollegiate Athletics about their ability to continue using the pool and other facilities in the Lasch football building, Mahon said. Discussions are underway to work out those details.
It’s worth pointing out that in addition to being the wife of the former head coach, Sue Paterno is also the mother of a current Penn State assistant (quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno), so she still has ties to the current program. But this just looks like one more mess for a school that has more than enough of those to deal with right now. The Paternos using Penn State facilities is much different from Sandusky using them, obviously – only Sandusky stands accused of actually doing these horrible things. Still, it’s just one of many questions Penn State has to deal with about the Paternos’ ongoing involvement with the school, even in the wake of one of the worst scandals imaginable.
There was already a stir over how lucrative Joe Paterno’s pension could reportedly be, and this new debate – even if relatively small – doesn’t help matters. Should Penn State cut all ties to Joe Paterno? Would it be too complicated legally to even try? All tough questions, especially in light of the good Paterno’s done for Penn State over the years. But the Sandusky scandal, as it should, trumps all. And as long as people who are involved in any way stick around, Penn State can’t move on in full.