Penn State scandal resonates in the Triangle
Posted November 8, 2011
Faced with hundreds of local and national media chomping at the bit to ask legendary head football coach Joe Paterno about charges of sex and lies engulfing his program, Penn State University President Graham Spanier canceled the coach's scheduled weekly news conference.
Paterno won't take questions about the Penn State’s 8-1 record or its Saturday showdown with Nebraska today or any other day, and he won't speak about the sexual assault charges against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the charges of perjury and failing to report lodged against two other PSU top officials.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that the school is planning for Paterno's exit. The report states there is no timetable set but he will not be the coach next season.
While Paterno is not talking, coaches and media across the country are.
In an interview with The Insiders on 620 The Buzz Tuesday morning, Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe said the ever-widening scandal at Penn State provides a stark reminder of the role college coaches play in the lives of their players and people within their programs.
“Well, to be honest with you, my first emotion was just angry,” he said. “I’m sorry, that’s just the first emotion that I felt. The longer you think about something like that, you just become prayerful for the victims. I don’t have any idea what happened, I can’t judge decisions or any of that.”
And while Cutcliffe said he wouldn’t judge the actions of leaders at Penn State, many have, questioning why the school’s athletic director, interim senior vice president and famed head coach didn’t do more to stop the alleged abuse.
Authorities have said that Paterno, who testified in the grand jury proceedings that led to the charges against Sandusky, former athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz, is not a target of the investigation.
Frank Noonan, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, said Monday that he wondered if Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more when he first learned of the alleged abuse in 1998.
Cutcliffe didn’t comment on the moral implications of the story Tuesday, but did say that coaches have to be aware of everything that goes on within their programs.
“I take absolutely full credit for any action of our assistants, our equipment people, our secretaries, anybody involved in this program,” he said. “I have to have my eyes wide open. That’s obviously a big part of the thing. That’s how I was taught, and that’s just how it works, period.”
Cutcliffe also said the scandal at Penn State should also serve as a reminder for everyone involved in college academic and athletics. People in positions of power have a responsibility, he said, to set good examples for the young people they are teaching, coaching and, in many ways, mentoring.
“You are at the head,” Cutcliffe said of head coaches. "You are working with young people, just like any professor on this campus has that same responsibility to be very careful what they say, what they teach and what they present to young people.”