This is the last hurrah for Penn State Football coach Joe Paterno.

News of the allegations against former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky permeate the newspapers, talk radio, and the network newscasts. I will not delve into that topic here. There is a grand jury document that can be found doing any reasonable search on line. The information is graphic, horrific and deplorable.

I will not take the time to attempt to “judge” as many are doing right now the rights or wrongs of Joe Paterno in this incident. It is clear he was made aware of a situation. It is clear that he did report the situation to his immediate contacts within the University. What is not clear, and is being questioned is why he did not do more?

Paterno will be forced to leave after this season as the football coach of the Nittany Lions. Some would argue that he would retire this year anyway, as he has finally secured the record for all time wins from College football Icon Eddie Robinson.

Unfortunately this will be the thing that Paterno will be most remembered for in his post coaching days.

We have seen it before. In no way am I trying to compare the severity of incidents between the coaches at these various programs. But legacies can be tarnished based on decisions that are made, and then become debated for years to come.

Woody Hayes was the heart and soul of the Ohio State Buckeyes, had his career end by throwing a punch at a player on the opposing team during a bowl game.

Most of you reading this are too young to remember or know, but Ohio State played Clemson in December of 1978 in the Gator Bowl. Ohio State Quarterback Art Schlichter threw an interception late in the game that was intercepted by Clemson nose tackle Charlie Bauman. Bauman returned the interception to the Ohio State sideline and upon getting back to his feet was punched in the throat by Head Coach Woody Hayes.

Hayes was ejected immediately from the game. He was fired the next day by the University.

Other college coaches have had their legacies tarnished by decisions they made. Nebraska’s Tom Osborne, who won three National Titles is still often most associated with his handling of troubled player Lawrence Phillips.

Phillips started his junior campaign with a bang, leading the Huskers to a large victory at East Lansing, where he led the Huskers with a four touchdown, 200 + yard day on the ground. This instantly vaulted him to the top of the Heisman talk. This lasted about two days as he was arrested for assaulting Kate McEwen, a Nebraska women’s basketball player. He was suspended from the team, but brought back at the end of the season for the bowl game against the Florida Gators. Phillips had a large role in that game, left for the NFL, where he continued to get into various troubles with abuse and assault incidents even after being given chances with a variety of teams.

There are many others, that have not been so eye popping as these. The sex scandals involving Rick Pitino, the University of Colorado Football team, the player shootings at Baylor and even Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach getting fired.

The upcoming weeks and months will be interesting to say the least.

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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