For the most part, I've avoided the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky stuff for a while here. I don't know that we've had a full-blown article on it since the Freeh Report dropped several years ago. There hadn't much new news on it and, frankly, it's sort of like beating a dead horse. And while it's relevant to Pitt to a degree since the two schools fight for recruits and, starting this season, will actually be playing on the football field again, I've always questioned the merits of dragging that story over here just because it's something that can quickly spiral out of control.
My focus on it has mostly been limited to asking commenters to tone down some of the rhetoric for it over the years. As I said at the onset of this many years ago, it's not funny or something that should be used as fodder in an argument. At the end of the day, it's just a sad circumstance and I'll leave it to Penn State fans as to how they want to discuss it. While we all have our opinions on Penn State and the majority of their fans, the one thing I never want this site to resort to is the type of cheap gags you might find elsewhere. Yes, it's a blog with commenters - I get that. But it's also easy to have meaningful dialogue without dragging each other into the gutter.
Finally, the other reason I really hate discussing this is because the victims are the ones we should care the most about and debating the football ramifications of this is sort of silly. Because of that, I try to be cautious with discussing the Sandusky stuff because it needs to be treated with extreme caution to remain sensitive and remember how minute a part football is of all of this. All of that said, since this is a Pitt site, we discuss things relevant to Pitt here - and I want to fulfill that obligation.
If you didn't see it, some news in the Sandusky scandal actually broke on Tuesday that was fairly relevant to Pitt fans to some degree. Another allegation surfaced in released testimony that Joe Paterno knew of sexual assault before he was believed to. That's the focal point for most of the nation, but it was alleged that some Penn State assistants knew a while back as well - namely Greg Schiano and Tom Bradley.
First things first, here. Keep in mind, this is testimony that was given and we don't know any more than that. This is a he said/she said type of deal. Schiano has since come out and stated that he saw nothing and Bradley's representative said the same. At this point, we've got one word against another and I'm not going to play God here and determine who's telling the truth.
Now, the Panthers are included a bit in this saga since they were reportedly looking at both men as a potential head coach at different times per numerous reports. Bradley was rumored for the post in the past (and even reported erroneously by WTAE as having secured the job back in 2011). Schiano also was rumored to be a candidate for the Pitt job in late 2014 before Pat Narduzzi got it. Assuming they happened, we may not know how deeply any of those talks went but reports indicated that there was at least some interest on Pitt's end for both.
Now, again, nothing has been confirmed as fact here, so saying things like "Pitt dodged a major bullet" are a little misleading (or even unfair) since they haven't been convicted of anything. But here's the thing - even if Schiano and Bradley truly did not know/see anything, the allegations are now out there and that is, on some level, damaging to their new homes (Schiano is a defensive coordinator at Ohio State and Bradley is the defensive coordinator at UCLA). Bradley reportedly hasn't discussed the incident at UCLA, leading SB Nation's Bruins blog to say that he needed to be more transparent earlier today. In bypassing both, fortunately this isn't something Pitt needs to deal with.
I realize that the Bradley and Schiano proponents for them getting the job may not exactly be showing themselves off today, but they were popular picks for a lot of people. At the time their names were discussed, I was one person that thought either could make a fine pick. Obviously, that's provided Pitt could be sure they weren't involved in the Sandusky stuff, but in terms of football coaching, I thought either could have done an adequate job. And in a poll we ran when the Schiano stuff was ongoing, 80% of more than 1,200 Cardiac Hill readers thought he should be considered for the job. Both me were to some segments very attractive candidates.
Will this affect the careers of either guy going forward? Beats me. To some degree, you wonder if both will have this as a cloud over their heads unless it can be proven without a doubt to be untrue. But for Pitt, it doesn't matter and they aren't forced to worry about it. The Panthers didn't only make out incredibly well with Pat Narduzzi, one of the top new head coaches out there, but they also avoided being pulled into these new allegations. Perhaps Pitt took a stance that eliminated former Penn State coaches from any final discussions for their head coaching gig. Perhaps, they passed for other reasons. But on a day like today, Narduzzi looks like an especially good grab.