When the investigation into former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky first led to the sex scandal at Penn State, my first instinct was concern that the knee jerk reaction would be to throw everyone out regardless of culpability.
My sense of fairness told me that each person in the administration deserves to be judged on the merits of what he or she did or didn't do and then treated accordingly.
I was afraid that wouldn't be the case in not-so-Happy Valley; that in the rush to save the reputation of the institution the trustees would be willing to throw the Joe-PA out with the bath water.
I have since changed my mind.
It has become increasingly clear that there is deep concern that some attempt was made to handle this situation quietly and internally, no doubt for the sake of the reputation of the university.
In seeking guidance the Penn State powers-that-be should have looked no further than the Catholic Church; there may have been a time when the correct thing to do in these situations would be to use discretion; the scandal in the church should have been a wake up call to everyone that is no longer the case and in the long run the damage is much greater for the cover up.
That's especially true for any program that asks parents to trust their young sons to it; these teenagers go into these programs for the education and the molding that will allow them to grow into young men.
If you can't even guarantee their safety in their own locker room then obviously all credibility is lost.
Jerry Sandusky is maintaining his innocence and should be presumed as such unless proven otherwise.
But allegations and at least one eyewitness account of potential impropriety is more than enough to separate him from the players until the situation is resolved.
If keeping things quiet gave him access to other kids in the interim then that silence, if he is found guilty abetted any future crimes.
That may be why Paterno has hired an attorney: not a civil attorney but a criminal one.
In this case, where there's smoke, there's firings.
It's sad that a coaching career long known for doing things the right way should end like this.
But Penn State's trustees have no choice.
This lesson here is clear; in these situations the best thing for the students and the best thing for the institution is the same; come forward immediately and address what happened openly.