Roy Exum: Schiano Is ‘Hands Off’

Monday, November 27, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When a Sunday morning report revealed that Ohio State Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano would soon be announced as the new football coach at Tennessee, the irate response was incredulous. UT athletic director John Curie had to know Schiano has “heavy baggage” after the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal and the fiery response from the Vol Nation was earth-shattering. I promise you this: Greg Schiano wouldn’t be in my top 100 candidates.

For almost a decade the grapevine rumor was Schiano was “hands off,” black-listed in the college coaching inner circle when he failed to report child molester Jerry Sandusky at Penn State in 1994.

By Sunday afternoon even White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was helping throw bricks at the Vols: “Guess who’s the new head football coach at the University of Tennessee? Yup. The guy who covered for Jerry Sandusky. #GregSchiano Good luck, John Currie. Note: Yes, I’m aware the guy in the picture isn’t Greg Schiano. Also aware that fact does not make this decision by Athletic Director John Currie any less terrible. Carry on.”

By nightfall Sunday, Schiano and the entire UT family was getting attacked from every direction. No group of people can be this stupid! A protest was growing by the minute outside the athletic Department. Somebody burned a mattress – no way this ends well. Not even Currie is safe from the wrath.

Schiano first came under the microscope in 1990 when he coached defensive backs at Penn State on Joe Paterno’s staff. That is when Jerry Sandusky was the defensive coordinator. You’ll remember Sandusky is the serial rapist who, in 2011, was arrested and found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period from 1994 to 2009. (So incredible was testimony, that Jerry, now 73, will not become eligible for parole until 2045.)

Schiano was an assistant at PSU through the 1995 season. Seven years later, in 2002, another Penn State assistant coach, Mike McQueary, told Paterno he had witnessed Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy. McQueary alleged said that Sandusky’s behavior in 1994 and 1995 was the reason Schiano left the Nittany Lions in 1995. Schiano adamantly denied any knowledge of Sandusky’s behavior but the heavy veil of doubt still exists in Happy Valley. Look at part of McQueary’s court deposition:

* * *

* In the deposition, McQueary claims that when he first told longtime PSU assistant Tom Bradley about what he had seen, Bradley was not shocked. McQueary claims that Bradley went on to tell him a story about a time Schiano had witnessed Sandusky abusing a child some time during the ‘90s:

Q: Did [Bradley] tell you that he had had information concerning Gerald Sandusky and children?

A: He said he knew of some things.

Q: And did he tell you what he knew of?

A: Yeah.

Q: What did he tell you?

A: He said another assistant coach had come to him in the early ‘90s about a very similar situation to mine, and he said that he had—someone had come to him as far back as early as the ‘80s about seeing Jerry Sandusky doing something with a boy.

Q: Did he identify who the other coaches were that had given him this information?

A: The one in the early ‘90s, yes.

Q: And who was that?

A: Greg Schiano.

Q: Greg Schiano?

A: Yes.

Q: And did he give you any details about what Coach Schiano had reported to him?

A: No, only that he had—I can’t remember if it was one night or one morning, but that Greg had come into his office white as a ghost and said he just say Jerry doing something to a boy in the shower. And that’s it. That’s all he ever told me.

Q: Did he tell you what, if anything, he had done about that?

A: No, he didn’t share with me.

Later, Schiano’s sworn statement: “In response to deposition, Greg Schiano said: “I never saw any abuse, nor had reason to suspect any abuse, during my time at Penn State.”

* * *

The only problem was few dared believe Schiano. He dropped tail and ran six or seven years before. Please, I’m not saying he lied, but I know the reason he hasn’t gotten any offers up until now is because of “doubt.”

Understand human perception: The rub on Schiano – ever since the Sandusky catastrophe – was that the longtime Ohio State assistant was not credible in the public’s eye and by not “manning-up,” he joined “the dark side” and was an unwitting accomplice to Sandusky’s long-term perversions. In Knoxville on Sunday there were actually signs: “We will not be coached by a pervert.”

Forget about Schiano totally rebuilding the Rutgers program – in 11 years he won exactly one more game than he lost. The Scarlet Knights program, winning five bowl games in his last years, was never more than “average” in the big scheme but in the NFL, his confrontation with NY Giants coach Tom Coughlin was in his second game with the Bucs and Schiano never lived it down.

The Giants were up 41-34 with one second remaining, Eli was going to take the snap and hit a knee to run the clock. But Schiano ordered his big uglies to clobber Eli just the same. Giants coach Coughlin came unglued. Later when the Bucs faced Denver, ever-the-gentleman Peyton took up for his brother in a way no one had ever witnessed. Buccaneers defensive lineman Michael Bennett told Mike Silver of that Manning "cussed" out Schiano after the game. "Peyton cussed him out," Bennett told Silver in 2013. "And I ain't never heard Peyton cuss."

Like I say, this ain’t never gonna’ happen. Greg Schiano is the wrong pick and it appears John Currie was, too.

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