Talking about the case with Scott the other day, I started to wonder why Sandusky-as-coaching-candidate didn’t merit more consistent mention after his retirement in 1999. An excellent defensive coordinator for a big school with a renowned head coach should excite a great deal of interest from coaches, athletic directors, and sports journalists, yet I have trouble remembering many mentions of Sandusky in the context of openings at major football programs. Journalists, especially, don’t tend to credit the “but I’m retired from coaching” claim with any consistency. To be sure I may be misremembering, and perhaps Sandusky was mentioned more often than I recall. I have to wonder, though, whether and how some word of Sandusky’s toxicity spread from Penn State through the coaching fraternity and the sports journalist worlds. Beyond that, I have to wonder about the precise nature of the understanding of his toxicity; did ADs and major journalists simply credit rumors that he was unreliable (or perhaps gay?) and move on? Or, following the 1998 investigation, did word of his actual potential offenses spread through these communities, perhaps propelled by JoePa and others associated with the Penn State football program?
What’s at stake here? Seems to me it’s possible that knowledge of Sandusky’s “problem” wasn’t limited to the Penn State community. Probably not any details, but people may have known enough to know not to ask. I’d be quite curious to know what ADs, head coaches, and journalists covering college football were saying in private about Sandusky post-1999 (and especially post-2001).