Knowing what we know now, yellow crime-scene tape should have been wrapped around the entire Penn State football complex because of what Jerry Sandusky was doing inside it, with the knowledge of the late Joe Paterno and others.
On Thursday morning, the Louis Freeh report investigating Penn State's response to the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal will be released, and it should demand a complete housecleaning of everyone in a position of power at Penn State during the Sandusky years, including the school's entire board of trustees. If Freeh doesn't do that, his report will have failed. The atrocities that turned into convictions against Sandusky are that horrifying.
But will Freeh do it? His investigation has been called "independent," but he is being paid by Penn State to conduct it. So how much can we trust this report?
What's more, a column by Paterno mysteriously surfaced Wednesday, nearly six months after his death. In it, the former Penn State coach said, "I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal."
Of course Paterno would say that. And of course he would be wrong. This is completely and totally a football scandal, because he built his program to be untouchable, and the university let him do so. It is a tragedy that will be linked with Penn State for generations, because Paterno failed miserably as a leader, educator and human being. He was the man with the real power to stop the sexual abuse of young boys in his locker room. Yet he did not do it.
Why a statue of him remains on campus is a question everyone, especially devoted Penn State alums, should ask.
Since Paterno was fired, and others were let go or put on leave, there has been a stunning (and revolting) inclination by the university to embrace the status quo.
For instance, most of us think disgraced President Graham Spanier is gone from Penn State, but he's still a tenured faculty member there.
The board of trustees, which reprehensibly ignored warnings about the severity of the Sandusky charges months before they were made public, is still intact.
And, eschewing even a modicum of class or dignity, the school accepted a bowl bid after last season when it more properly should have shut down the football program for at least a year to show it was serious about the Sandusky scandal. Over the years, many universities have willingly given up bowl games for transgressions far less egregious. But let's not forget: They are Penn State.
Knowing all this, it's hard not to be cynical about what happens next. No matter what Freeh announces, recent history tells us that the alleged leaders of Penn State will spend the rest of their lives trying to avoid doing anything about it.