11/10/2011 02:21 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

A No-Win For Paterno

I went to Penn State. Main campus. Two years. And then I transferred because that was all I could take.

All I could take of the school's warped sense of self.

All I could take of a campus culture that would NEVER take the word of a janitor over a football coach.

And all I could take of a place where students now rally in support of a man who protected a pedophile because, otherwise, he's a winner!

I want to say that I am surprised that the so-called squeaky clean football program isn't -- but I'm not.

In fact, I'm sure most people who attended Penn State would tell you that its program, and its players, are no different than any other school whose reputation -- and endowment -- is built on football.

In fact, the only difference is that Penn State promoted itself as different -- scholastically, morally and ethically above the rest.

Joe Paterno perpetuated this fraud, I've always thought, because he believed it.

I convinced myself that there were enough layers of protection between Joe and those who handled behavioral issues or academic failings that he could hold his head high (or bury it in the sand) and sleep well at night, resting on the laurels of his winning program.

But now we know the truth.

If, as the grand jury investigation reveals, Joe was told in no uncertain terms that Jerry Sandusky was seen sexually assaulting a child, and Paterno did not report it to police, there is absolutely no excuse. Period. It is an unforgivable failure.

If he or anyone in the administration could look past something so heinous then -- let's be real -- they would look past anything.

And I promise you, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Allegations (and lawsuits) will be coming out of the woodwork.

Lives have been ruined. Lots of them. For football.

Some will defend Joe Paterno as a scapegoat in this scandal. But, if the details are as they've been reported, Joe made a choice.

He had a choice. The victims didn't.

Football may be about winning. But life is about choices.

And, regardless of his record, this is a no win for Joe.