The University of Tennessee Volunteers seemed to be prepared to hire Ohio State University’s defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as their new head football coach, until a slew of student outcry emerged on Tennessee’s campus.
Students who were critical of Schiano’s involvement in the Jerry Sandusky incident at Pennsylvania State University six years ago helped organize the protests.
The Penn State incident broke into the national spotlight in November of 2011. Sandusky was an assistant football coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions and was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse.
The incident impacted the image of the Penn State football program. Long-time head coach Joe Paterno was fired, a $60 million fine was imposed and all victories from 1998 to 2011 were vacated. These are just a few of many disciplinary actions.
At the time of the Sandusky incident, Schiano was a member of the Penn State football team’s staff as an assistant coach under Paterno. Schiano denies ever having knowledge of Sandusky’s criminal actions prior to the breaking of the story in 2011, and there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that he is lying.
Tennessee’s students protested the hiring of Schiano because they believe he withheld knowledge of Sandusky’s sexually abusive actions. A rock on the Tennessee campus had the sentence “Schiano covered up child rape at Penn State,” painted on it on Sunday Nov. 26.
The students’ outcry proved successful and the university parted ways with Schiano just before they were expected to hire him.
The whole incident is unfortunate for Schiano. The Sandusky incident is a dark mark on the history of college football and continues to effect men like Schiano, who are just hoping to move forward in their careers.
Schiano’s integrity is backed by current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, and Schiano has never made his way into the media for any negative reason other than being on the Penn State staff at such a deplorable time.
Tennessee should have gone through with the hiring of Greg Schiano. The student protests were all based on the speculation of a man’s possible knowledge of an incident that occurred years ago. It is sad to see a man like Schiano lose out on opportunities for things he may not have been part of.
Since the incident, Schiano has been the head coach for the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and defensive coordinator for Ohio State, one of the nation’s best college football programs. Schiano’s integrity has never been questioned while serving in these positions.
Tennessee students may have been better off if they had taken the time to enhance their understanding of the situation—the Sandusky incident took place years before many of them even began attending college. It seems the students revolted without fully understanding the consequences that Schiano would have to face.
Sandusky’s crimes are still relevant in the realm of college football, and men like Schiano unfortunately deal with the aftermath of the situation. The Tennessee students, however, were protesting a man who had never been found guilty of a crime and was known to have the utmost integrity.
Hopefully, with time, Schiano can outrun the crimes of a man who has already been convicted and sentenced.u