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Last year, Penn State was fined $60 million, banned from bowl games for four years and had scholarships taken away after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of molesting boys on campus. The sanctions, handed down by the NCAA, added up to a mountain of money.

Last week, the university began negotiations with representatives of the victims with the idea financial settlements could be reached. How anyone determines the cost of sexual abuse isn't clear. Is there a formula for such sordidness? I would imagine the greater the abuse, the higher the price tag, although pain and suffering lasts a lifetime.

Sandusky is alive, for now, spending however many years he has remaining in his miserable life in a 9-by-12 foot cell that's twice the size he deserves. To say the world is a better place with him removed from society is being much too kind. Sandusky is a monster who will someday serve a greater sentence.

At least he had his day in court.

Joe Paterno did not.

Paterno died without ever fully explaining his role in the Sandusky scandal, without ever getting his due process. He was convicted in the Court of Public Opinion of covering up the scandal, based on a report from former FBI investigator Louis Freeh. The NCAA handed down its sanctions based on Freeh's findings after a lengthy investigation.

Legal experts and lawmakers have lined up to poke holes into the Freeh Report, claiming it was flawed and incomplete. Former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, a former attorney general, is among the people who have questioned the Freeh Report. He joined Paterno's family, which all along complained about an overall rush to judgment.

In fact, they could be right.

Paterno admitted that he wished he would have done more to prevent Sandusky's crimes. It was all so easy to see after the fact. Was it possible that Paterno really was the Average Joe that he portrayed? Could it be that he was fooled like others with greater expertise? Was he a naive old man who failed to comprehend such atrocities?

Yes, it is possible, but we'll never know.

Sandusky was an adoptive parent who passed through a screening process. He fooled psychologists into thinking children would be safe under his watch. Jim Clemente, a retired sex-crime expert for the FBI, suggested on ESPN's “Outside the Lines” with Bob Ley that Sandusky was among the top 1 percent of master manipulators.

If Sandusky could convince psychologists he was a fit for children, why should a college football coach know otherwise? It has been widely reported that assistant coach Mike McQueary told Paterno about the molestation. Paterno told investigators that he heard about Sandusky “horsing around” with boys in the shower, whatever that meant.

Only two people know exactly what McQueary said to his coach. One of them is dead.

The intent here isn't to absolve Paterno. The slightest allegation of sexual misconduct occurring on campus should have prompted him to call authorities and demand a full investigation. He should have been persistent until all questions were answered, even after relaying what he had heard to Athletic Director Tim Curley.

Instead, the abuse continued.

Nobody will ever know exactly told McQueary told Paterno or exactly what Paterno told Curley or exactly what Curley told former Penn State President Graham Spanier. It's not for me to say exactly what exactly happened or who was involved in a possible cover-up. We'll probably never have all of the facts.

In our desperation for action, in our 24/7 news cycle, our society demanded answers to questions. But we failed to question the answers we were given. Penalties were handed down based on a report that some believe was suspect. Will there be another report poking holes in the Paterno Report, which poked holes in the Freeh Report?

We're not sure who to believe, anymore. It goes back to trust, and mistrust, which was the core of the problem from the crimes committed to the allegations that followed to how the scandal unfolded to how it was handled.

In the end, children endured years of sexual abuse, a once-proud university has been shamed and a legendary coach's reputation has been forever tarnished. Everybody has a price, as they say, but no dollar amount can justify the expense.

Chemistry lesson

Are the Celtics better off without Rajon Rondo?

That suggestion sounded ludicrous when he suffered a season-ending knee injury, but it started to make sense during their seven-game winning streak without him. The streak was snapped by a loss to the lowly Bobcats, a defeat that came one night after an emotional, triple-overtime victory at home over Denver.

Rondo for years has been criticized for his immaturity and coarse personality, and it appears his absence has improved chemistry. The Celtics are sharing the ball more and playing better defense without him. Jason Terry had a season-high 26 points in the victory over the Nuggets.

Celtics fans shouldn't get too excited. Three of the seven wins came against Sacramento, Orlando and Toronto, which were 48 games under .500 on Tuesday. Boston won two other home games over the Clippers, who were without Chris Paul, and the Lakers, who were without Pau Gasol.

Denver had won 15 of 17 games, including nine straight, but they were 11-15 on the road before falling in Boston. The Celtics' other win was over Miami.

Piazza denies rumors

Mike Piazza, in an autobiography released Tuesday, admitted using androstenedione and an amphetamine but continued denying using steroids. We'll see if it changes the minds of baseball writers who apparently don't believe him.

Piazza was one of the best-hitting catchers in history. He was a 12-time all-star in a career that produced a .308 batting average, 427 homers and 1,335 RBIs. He likely would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot if he didn't play in the steroid era.

Instead, with 57.8 percent of the vote, he was well short of the 75 percent needed.

“I was into power, not prison,” Piazza said in the book, according to the New York Post. The Post obtained excerpts of the book.

Piazza also claimed he took karate lessons and hatched a plan in which he would fight Roger Clemens after the infamous incident in which Clemens threw the remains of a broken bat in Piazza's direction. Piazza worried, however, about getting his fanny kicked by Clemens before a full stadium.

He also acknowledged experiencing tension with Latin players, particularly during his days with the Dodgers. He said it was “some kind of weird Hispanic conspiracy against me, almost like a secret brotherhood, a Latin mafia-type of thing.”

Olympics or X-Games?

The International Olympic Committee appears to be moving away from its origins so much that you wonder what will remain in the next 20 years.

The governing body's latest decision was eliminating wrestling, a premier event when the modern day games began in 1896, in 2020.

“It's the IOC trying to change the Olympics to make it more mainstream and more viewer-friendly instead of sticking to what they founded the Olympics on,” former U.S. heavyweight Rulan Gardner, who became a star after beating Russian Alexander Karelin in 2000, told the Associated Press. “And that was basically amateur sports.”

Other sports, such as softball and baseball, were eliminated because not enough countries could compete for a medal.

Wrestling has been competitive for centuries. Twenty-nine countries won wrestling medals in London. Dumping the sport makes almost no sense to traditionalists.

The IOC in recent years has been pushing for more X Games-style events that attract younger fans. The Summer Games now include BMX racing and mountain biking, for example, while the Winter Games added several freestyle skiing events to complement its traditional alpine competition.

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“I assume Pegula doesn't spend 16 hours re-drilling a dry well. Why's he doing that with Darcy and Lindy?”

Stats Inc.

10 – Consecutive rounds in which Brandt Snedeker has shot in the 60s en route to two second-place finishes and a win at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

55 – Shots made by LeBron James, in 77 attempts, including nine of 13 from three-point range during the Heat's five-game winning streak.

2 – Goals scored by Scott Gomez in 76 games going back to the 2010-11 season before the Sharks' center played the Predators on Tuesday night.

Quick Hits

• The Bills' decision to waive veterans George Wilson and Nick Barnett says plenty about just how bad their defense was last season. Both had lost a step in recent years and still were the top two tacklers on the team. Here's hoping they left behind a few quotes when packing up their belongings.

• As if Vince Young's money problems couldn't get any worse, his former financial advisor testified that he arranged a $300,000 loan for the quarterback to throw himself a birthday party in 2011. Clearly, it didn't dawn on the financial advisor that securing a big loan for a party wasn't very sound financial advice.

• Predicted order of finish in the AL East: Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees.

email: bgleason@buffnews.com