CINCINNATI - "Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the saftey and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State."
When that is how the proceeding starts, it doesn't bode well for the conclusion. And former FBI director Louis Freeh left no stone unturned in his relentless pursuit of the truth about who knew what and when about Jerry Sandusky's perversions.
His task force, at the invitation of Penn State trustees, reportedly interviewed more than 430 individuals and reviewed 3.5 million emails, handwritten notes and other documents to reach their damning verdict: "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children Sandusky victimized."
And the motivations of Joe Paterno, President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz were all about preservation; not of self — as they felt insulated from it all — but for the cherished and time-honored Penn State brand.
"In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university — Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse," the report said.
Paterno, according to Freeh, "was an integral part of this active decision to conceal."
Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial on charges related to the scandal. President Spanier faces countless civil actions. Joe Paterno is dead and Sandusky will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
Penn State will survive. As it should. Was the Catholic church shuttered for the sins of aberrant priests?
But I have one lingering question about the coaching fraternity. Lifers in the college football business know everyone else's business. There are few, if any, secrets.
So how did Sandusky slip so quietly into retirement in 1999?
Wasn't there some school, somewhere, willing to take a chance on a then-55-year-old coaching genius by offering a lucrative head coaching position to resurrect or establish their program? Or was their a quiet complicity throughout the industry about Jerry's 'issues?'
A well-connected Division-I coach tells me that wasn't the case, that Penn State kept it in in-house. He texted me tonight, "Never a mention, but always thought it was strange how he just went away."
That is apparently how deep the deception goes when men of power conspire to retain it by protecting the "Brand" above innocent children.