Amos Alonzo Stagg’s name being attached to the Big Ten football championship trophy may have to be reevaluated if Joe Paterno is found to be “complicit” in the Jerry Sandusky scandal according to Stagg's great grandson.
The hardware for the first Big Ten championship game next month -- the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy – has yet to be presented. But Robert Stagg told CBSSports.com on Tuesday that he is concerned about the family’s association if “more disturbing evidence,” is found in the case that has captured national headlines.
“If he [Paterno] has been complicit in this, he’s got to step down,” said Stagg, a 54-year-old father working in sales in Grand Rapids, Mich. “Unfortunately that would be the case.”
Asked specifically if “complicit” meant not going to authorities if Paterno knew a crime had been committed, Stagg said: “If you have knowledge of what’s going on, you have to alert authorities. You can’t leave it up to someone else to alert authorities. You have to. It’s the only thing to do.”
Stagg says he assumes Paterno’s innocence but has followed the situation closely. Sandusky, Paterno’s former defensive coordinator, is charged with multiple accounts molesting young boys. Former graduate assistant and current assistant Mike McQueary reportedly told Paterno in 2002 he witnessed Sandusky having sex with a 10-year-old boy in a Penn State lockerroom shower.
Paterno then told his AD, Tim Curley, who summoned McQueary 1 ½ weeks later. Sandusky was banned from bringing children into the football facility but no authorities were contacted. Paterno has maintained his innocence through his attorney. Curley and Penn State finance officer Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury.
“It was sickening. It’s just horrible,” said a Stagg, a descendant of the great Amos Alonzo Stagg. “We hear of these things from time to time in the paper, be it with the Catholic Church or various individuals. This is just one that when you look at the gentleman’s [Sandusky] involvement and charitable-type endeavors. I just don’t understand it.”
Stagg was not specific about what action the family might take but he said they are monitoring the situation. He added that a contingent of 20 family members will travel to Indianapolis for the first Big Ten championship game on Dec. 3. His father, Amos Alonzo Stagg III, will be honored at the game. Stagg III, 84, is the same age as Paterno.
The original Amos Alonzo Stagg is the legendary coach who won 319 games in 57 years. Amos Alonzo Stagg was a noted innovator in both football and basketball. He coached at the University of Chicago for parts of five decades. The University of Chicago was in the Big Ten a portion of that time.
“There are some [family] roots to the state of Pennsylvania,” Robert Stagg said. “We’ve kind of cheered JoePa along. We’re still hoping he’s cleared on this. If something else comes to light and he kind of let this go leaving someone else to handle, then we may feel very differently …
“We’ll just have to wait and see but if we find that a lot more disturbing evidence comes out I’m sure we will have a lot of discussion with the Big Ten.”
Paterno is in his 45TH year as Penn State head coach. Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1992.
“He’s had a wonderful career and honestly we hope he’s cleared of all this,” Stagg said.