Yesterday afternoon, Steve Penny tendered his resignation as the president of USA Gymnastics.
The resignation came after months of investigative reports on the part of the Indianapolis Star, focusing on lax policies that allowed a team doctor named Larry Naser to have access to hundreds of young women in his job with USA Gymnastics as well as with Michigan State University.
The numbers, as reported by the Indy Star, are staggering.
But the ramifications could be even greater.
Just look at what happened this week in the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. If you remember, the first drips of the scandal occurred in November 2011, when charges were leveled against PSU athletic director Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz, the school’s senior vice president for finance and business. Curley and Schultz, just this week, took a plea deal for their part in the scandal. And next Monday, the president of Penn State, Graham Spanier, is to go on trial for his part in the abuse.
Penn State, in the intervening 5 1/2 years, undergone a lot of fraught changes. Football coach Joe Paterno was made to resign, and died only a few months later. A statue of him was removed from the area around the football stadium. Some 112 coaching wins were stripped, then reinstated just two years ago.
I have a feeling that the affairs surrounding Larry Naser are only beginning. The gymnastics are just a sideshow; what did people at his other employers — Twistars, the City of Holt., Mich., and MSU’s athletic department — know, and when did they know it?
This is a powerful question, one which we’ll be following with some interest.