Coaching Scandals Tarnish 2011

By Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether
December 27, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015
Jerry Sandusky Arrested On New Charges
Jerry Sandusky poses for his mugshot after being arrested on December 7, 2011. Sandusky failed to post $250,000 bail. (Centre County Correctional Facility via Getty Images)

The biggest headline in sports this year was not a player, a team, a specific play, or a lockout. Instead, it was the accusations against not one, but two college sports coaches, carrying implications that reach far beyond the schools they affected.

Jerry Sandusky, retired assistant football coach at Penn State University, stands accused of 52 counts of child sexual assault of 10 men over a 15-year span. He will go to trial early in 2012.

Perhaps encouraged by Sandusky’s accusers coming forward, three men claimed Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine molested them as children. Syracuse fired him despite no formal charges, although he is under federal investigation.

The incidents stunned the nation, but opened much-needed dialogue—raising the question of who parents trust with their kids.

From a very young age, children are often spending hours a day honing their skills with men whose trust is given by virtue of their title—coach.

Recreation league youth sports rarely require background checks, but even a clean background doesn’t mean coaches aren’t capable of committing a crime. The attention created by these scandals will surely create a heightened awareness of potential abuse at every level.

Kristen Meriwether