Monday, December 19, 2011

Did Former Penn State Basketball Coach Know About Sandusky?

In May of this year, Penn State men’s basketball coach Ed DeChellis made the stunning decision to leave his alma mater coming off of a NCAA Tournament appearance to go to the U.S. Naval Academy, a team that hasn’t made the tournament since 1987. At the time, the reasoning behind DeChellis leaving a Big Ten school for a position with a $200,000 annual pay cut was about respect, lack of job security and the overall unimportance of the Penn State basketball program.

Until DeChellis was hired, the Bryce Jordan Center sported little in the way of artwork or signage to signal it was the home of Penn State basketball, and only last season were the basketball staffs given significant office space.

Worse, this season the team was forced to move out of the Bryce Jordan Center and practice in the nearby intramural building, in a gym outfitted for volleyball and only retrofitted for basketball. This as the Nittany Lions were jockeying for position for an at-large bid. The reason? Bon Jovi needed the space for rehearsal, and the university was hosting a career fair.

Now, however, does anyone think that DeChellis may have left Penn State because he knew something was going to happen with Jerry Sandusky? Think about it for a second. Has there ever been a case where a Big 10 head coach voluntarily resigned to take the same position several steps lower on the college basketball ladder?

In my opinion, I find it extremely unlikely that DeChellis had any inside information or knowledge of the Sandusky case. Although I don’t really follow Penn State basketball closely (are there still any Crispin brothers on the team?), it sounds like DeChellis left for the reasons above.

After listening to the ridiculous (not in a good way) radio “interview” between Yahoo’s Ryan Lambert and former KDKA sportscaster John Steigerwald in which they threw out speculation that Alex Ovechkin took steroids and that Sidney Crosby is a vampire, I just thought I would share more internet speculation. Call me an irresponsible blogger typing in my basement. Plus, someone on the Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries mentioned the possible DeChellis-Sandusky link, so I’m weeks behind!

Oh, here are DeChellis’ thoughts on the current situation:

DeChellis said he'd reserve judgment on whether former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, charged with 40 counts of abuse, is guilty, or whether Paterno is being fairly criticized for not taking more action when allegations arose.

DeChellis pointed to Sandusky maintaining he's innocent in an NBC interview on Monday. DeChellis also referred to the Duke lacrosse rape case, when players were accused and then charges were dropped.

"I don't know who was right and who was wrong," DeChellis said. "I'm not to judge. I know that Joe has done a lot of great things in his career. He's affected a lot of young men in a positive way and done a lot for the university, and to see his tenure end this way, only time will tell what really went on."

Basically, to paraphrase Bon Jovi, DeChellis is saying that it's his life and it's now or never. He ain't gonna live forever. He just wants to live while he's alive.

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