For most of us outside of Happy Valley, last week's grand jury report that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had been charged with molesting eight children came as a shock. It's hard to imagine the average football fan has even heard Sandusky's name in the past decade, let alone suspected him of doing anything wrong, ever.
But for those paying close attention to the program, the allegations were nothing new. They were rumors transferred into something of substance. From a Beaver County Times column by Mark Madden dated April 3 of this year:
If Paterno and Penn State knew, but didn't act, instead facilitating Sandusky's untroubled retirement - are Paterno and Penn State responsible for untoward acts since committed by Sandusky?
This is far from an outrageous hypothesis, especially given the convenient timeline.
Initially accused in 1998. Retires in 1999. Never coaches college football again. Sandusky was very successful at what he did. The architect of Linebacker U. Helped win national championships in 1982 and 1986. Recognized as college football's top assistant in 1986 and 1999.
Never any stories about Sandusky being pursued for a high-profile job. Never any rumors about him coming out of retirement.
But there's no shortage of stories and rumors about Penn State football sweeping problems under the rug, is there?
When you consider Sandusky was supposed to be in line for Paterno's job and was pursued by Virginia and Maryland in the early '90s, then suddenly vanished from coaching after the 1998 allegation, the puzzle starts to fit together. And the harder it is to believe that the two men charged with perjury were the only ones who knew.