A jury found former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty Friday of sexually abuse boys in his care. The case shook the beloved university and its football program to the core and some local Penn State alumni say they’re not satisfied.
Evan Smith hopes his kids will go to Penn State one day. The 2011 PSU grad doesn’t even have any children, yet, but it’s evidence that even after the scandal his pride is strong. The day after the verdict came in, he said, he made sure to wear a Penn State shirt.
“It’s been 7 to 8 long months, and I think all of us are really ready to move on,” said Smith. “It’s easy now to make the Penn State, State Pen, jokes. There’s people who say that Penn State shouldn’t be playing football anymore. Well, why? None of the actions of the current players or coaching staff have any affect on one man’s obviously heinous crimes.”
Smith, from Schnecksville, near Allentown, said he wants more answers in the Sandusky case, about who knew what, when.
“What I want to hear is tangibly what they’re going to do to ensure that something like this — this awful, awful experience — never ever happens again,” said Penn State alum Jeff Jubelirer, a communications strategist. “So does it mean that there are new reporting requirements for individuals with power or who have interactions with children? Are there new positions? They’re saying the right things. I really want to see action.”
Jubilirer grew up near Penn State and said he is hurt and embarrassed. But, he added, he’s hopeful the horrible things that happened at his school motivate other institutions to act to make sure they’re not next.
Philadelphia resident Robert Nagel, a member of the Penn State Class of 2010, said he’s glad the victims had a chance to have their time in court and now he says the university needs to do the right thing.
“When you find yourself in a position where you’re no longer that beacon, you’re no longer considered that holy, always-able-to-do-the-right-thing type of place, you put your head down and you get back to work,” said Nagel. “They let the victims be able to speak as they did at the trial and just let this process play out without getting into messy court battles.”
The abuse accusations against Sandusky led to questions about a cover-up, and a larger scandal. Iconic head football coach Joe Paterno was fired. So was university president Graham Spanier.