Fear of bad publicity and soiling Penn State’s image motivated the school’s revered football coach and university officials to ignore child abuse. That’s the conclusion of a damning report released Thursday on the child sex abuse scandal perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach who’s now a convicted child molester.
With the report now public, members of the school’s notoriously faithful alumni are weighing in.
Charles Rossano, a 1994 Penn State grad from Cherry Hill, still remembers meeting the school’s legendary football coach, Joe Paterno. “The second time I met him, he remembered who I was, what I was majoring in, and other discussion points we had the first time we met — after just five minutes to talking each other,” Rossano said. “So it’s almost like you could see how people would follow him and the leadership capabilities. He himself was an institution. Here was somebody who was the elite amongst an elite profession ” Rossano said he’s disappointed by what happened in the Sandusky case — and the abuse scandal changes his view of Joe Paterno. “You always had the feeling that, at Penn State, everything was done by the book. Academics were just as important as making sure there were no off-field issues. And that was something that I felt separated Penn State from a lot of other universities that had powerhouse programs,” Rossano said. “And that was something that I was proud about.” Evan Smith graduated from Penn State in 2011. Like many PSU alums, he’s followed the scandal closely. He’s not surprised by the report. “Some of the specifics of some of the emails might have been new, but I think if you followed the case, a lot of it is kinda what we already knew,” Smith said.
Smith said members of the board of trustees who were around during the Sandusky scandal should resign. Despite all the good things that happen at Penn State, the abuse scandal will haunt the school, he said.
“I think for the next 10 to 20 years, fans are going to be ridiculing Penn State at every kind of sporting event,” Smith said. ” was at a basketball game last December against Duquesne and their fans chanted some derogatory Sandusky shower remarks toward our student section at that point.” Smith, who said he doesn’t regret going to Penn State, said he hopes now the university family can move forward — while trying to make things right with Sandusky’s victims.