First of all, in all fairness I should point out that Paterno is legally in the clear:
Again, what Paterno did was legally right. Morally right is the open question that needs further information.
The Court of Public Opinion is a different story, however. It’s also something I don’t subscribe to by default, since its fullest extent implies mob rule, which is about as far from true justice as you can get. Therefore, here are logical imperatives for Penn State to do a clean sweep:
The school could have reported Sandusky and immediately distanced themselves from him and his actions. As heinous as Sandusky’s crimes are, it would have been easier for PSU to out him than if, for example, he’d exceeded practice time limits. That’s because anything that’s part of your job description reflects on the organization you belong to. Training was part of Sandusky’s job description and therefore connected to Penn State’s modus operandi. Illegal sexual contact wasn’t. What I’m trying to say here is that this wasn’t a case of PSU having to choose between reporting Sandusky and the survival of an athletics program – and even if it were, they should still have taken the latter option.
I’m not going to pretend the school’s reputation wouldn’t still take a beating, but that beating would pale in comparison to what they’ll have to endure now and for years or decades into the future.
Instead, not reporting the Sandusky allegations implies that PSU tradition – which the school holds so sacred – is to not do their reasonable best to protect innocent minors from known grevious harm, which approaches perpetrating such acts yourself in immorality.
How far does this house cleaning have to go?
Everyone who knew about the allegations but did not report them to the police has to leave. Not just Paterno, but graduate assitants and even janitors. And they have to do it quickly. That’s the only way Penn State can show that what happened here is not the way they do things.
Note that I haven’t mentioned recruitment or anything like that in this post. This situation is far beyond that issue now.