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Joe Paterno Fired: Barry Switzer Says 'Everyone On That Staff Had To Have Known'

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/11/2011 9:02 am EST Updated: 01/23/2014 6:58 pm EST

The firing of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno amid the horrifying sex abuse scandal surrounding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has elicited a wide range of reactions.

Students responded by rioting in the streets in support of Paterno. Meanwhile, many outside of the university believed it was necessary to dismiss Paterno since, according to the grand jury report, he was told in 2002 of an alleged incident involving Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in a locker room shower and told the athletic director but not the police.

Although it remains uncertain precisely how much information Paterno and others involved had about Sandusky's alleged actions, former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer said on Thursday that he believes this scandal goes deeper than just Paterno and athletic director Tim Curley.

"Having been in this profession a long time and knowing how close coaching staffs are, I knew that this was a secret that was kept secret,” Switzer said. "Everyone on that staff had to have known, the ones that had been around a long time."

Once he heard Paterno admit that he should have done more, Switzer knew that the iconic coach needed to be removed.

Switzer, who led the Sooners to three national titles, was forced out of Oklahoma in 1989 after a string of troubling incidents including a gang rape in in the athletic dormitory and his starting quarterback getting arrested for selling cocaine. The NCAA put the football program on three years' probation and Switzer eventually resigned after 16 years there.

"I'll tell you how it happens -- it's the American sports phenomenon. I've seen it happen all my life; we've made coaches and players and athletes more than what we are," Switzer continued. "It's what happens in American sports. Because of that, they've gotten away with more than they should have."

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