In Wake Of Sandusky Scandal, Penn State Football Will Try To Stay The Course

Ann McClure's picture

Ten weeks before the debut of Bill O'Brien as Penn State's head football coach, the sun shone brilliantly Saturday on Beaver Stadium. Outside the huge facility, someone parked a car near the statue of O'Brien's iconic predecessor, Joe Paterno, every few minutes for a quick photo before driving off.

While it's never too early to be thinking football at Penn State, no matter the month or the weather, the subject of spending fall Saturdays in Happy Valley for some will be a cause for pain and shame given the events of the last 71/2 months, since shocking allegations of child sexual abuse were brought against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

A Centre County Court jury in Bellefonte, about eight miles from the stadium, believed nearly all of the allegations. On Friday night, it convicted Sandusky, who coached for Paterno for 32 years, of 45 of the 48 counts brought against him for molesting young boys.

The eight days of testimony served as a reminder that the Penn State football program, considered pristine for decades under the strong hand of Paterno, carries a stain that won't be eradicated any time soon, even under the new leadership of the energetic, 42-year-old O'Brien and his mostly new staff.

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