On Sunday, July 22, 2012, the famous statue of Joe Paterno leading a group of football players was removed. The statue, a landmark on the Pennsylvania State University campus in State College, Pennsylvania, was removed due to mounting pressure after evidence indicated that Paterno had more involvement in a cover up than previously believed. It is alleged that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing young boys and that Paterno and a few other higher up individuals at Penn State knew of and covered up the abuse. Paterno has since been fired and shortly after died. He is not the first coach to have his legacy tarnished. Here is a look at four others who face criminal charges or public outrage.
Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach for Penn State, was found guilty of dozens of counts relating to the sexual abuse of young boys. He has not yet been sentence, but it has been reported that he will likely face life in prison. He has appealed the verdict. Sandusky had been a part of a giant mural that included former coach Joe Paterno. Not long after the allegations surfaced, he was removed from the mural.
After Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy was murdered by a teammate in 2003, Dave Bliss, the coach for the team, allegedly orchestrated a massive cover up to conceal the fact that Bliss was involved in a big recruiting violation. He allegedly told his players to tell investigators that Dennehy had been a drug dealer. Though it was thought he may face criminal charges for the cover up, in the end he faced only NCAA sanctions and school sanctions. He was fired and became a high school basketball coach. He continued to be a controversial figure while coaching at the high school level.
While coaching basketball at the University of New Mexico, Norm Ellenberger was part of a scandal that led to his conviction of multiple counts of felony fraud. He allegedly was an integral part of a plan to manipulate grades to ensure player eligibility. He was given probation but he did later return to coaching.
In 2011, Bernie Fine, who was at the time an assistant coach for the Syracuse University basketball team, was fired. Allegations had surfaced that Fine had molested multiple young boys many years ago. There is no evidence that indicates that the school knew of the behavior. One of the allegedly molested men admitted that he had lied about the abuse. He cannot be prosecuted for any of the remaining allegations due to the statute of limitations.
Though Kristin Watt is not a fan of all sports, she does follow the news on most sports religiously. Major news events in sport do tend to ripple out to others and she makes sure that she never misses the big stories.
- Sports & Recreation
- Crime & Justice
- Jerry Sandusky
- Joe Paterno
- Dave Bliss
- Penn State