As athletic departments across the country reassess and perform their own "gut-checks", it occurs to me that few are in the predicament that Penn State found themselves in when Sandusky's terror games began to surface.
While the perpetrator in Happy Valley was an assistant coach, the chief co-conspirator was a head coach so revered his words and actions were beyond reproach. Both men had time on their sides. They had been at PSU long before their administrators, as well as before most of the current students' parents were old enough to vote. This certainly helped facilitate and cover up the madness that was going on within the football program.
That kind of tenure is lost in today's "win NOW" culture. Joe Paterno began at Penn State in 1950 as an assistant and took over head coaching duties in '65. At the same time Sandusky was finishing his playing career and assimilated into his coach's staff. The only current coaches that come close to that kind of tenure are VA Tech's Frank Beamer who was hired in 1987 and Kansas State's Bill Snyder in 1989 (albeit with a brief hiatus from 2005-08). The next longest is Troy's Larry Blakeney in 1991, after that it jumps all the way to Mack Brown at Texas in 1998.
It's hard to imagine something of this magnitude and horror happening at another athletic department. And surely there were many other factors at work. As many programs check their own house for dry rot and cracks in the foundation, many will find a coach that is bigger than the institution itself. But gone are the days of time allowing these coaches to perpetuate this status over generations of matriculations.
Not to mention erecting statues before