Two Big Ten schools were at the center of two of the six biggest sports stories of 2011, according to a vote of Associated Press members.
NEW YORK (AP) — The ouster of one of America’s most revered coaches, Penn State’s Joe Paterno, after shocking child sex abuse charges against his former assistant was overwhelmingly voted the sports story of the year by members of The Associated Press.
On the morning of Nov. 5, Paterno’s Nittany Lions were undefeated in the Big Ten and ranked No. 16 in the country, and the 84-year-old Hall of Famer was renowned as the winningest coach in Division I football, a leader who preached and practiced “Success with Honor.” Then came the staggering revelations: the indictment of longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky for allegedly sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year span, perjury charges against two high-ranking school administrators — and a grand jury report that suggested Paterno knew of accusations against Sandusky and did not do enough to pursue them.
Within four days, Penn State’s board of trustees had done the once-unthinkable, firing JoePa after 46 seasons as head coach.
6. OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes beat Arkansas 31-26 on Jan. 4 in the Sugar Bowl with five players allowed to take part even though they were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for NCAA infractions. Ohio State would soon have far bigger problems. The school learned that month that Jim Tressel, who coached the Buckeyes to their first national title in 34 years, long knew about the transgressions and had violated NCAA rules by not reporting them. On May 30, he finally resigned under pressure. After a 6-6 season, Ohio State replaced Tressel with somebody who’s won two national championships: former Florida coach Urban Meyer.
Let’s try to stay out of the 2012 list, shall we?