As one who jumped the gun myself already, I found this little article is very sobering.
This website http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/07/the-case-against-joe-paterno-weak-to-non-existent-on-the-current-record.php provides a detailed commentary regarding the evidence "against" the Coach from a lawyer who has reviewed the Freeh report. If his summary is accurate I would agree the evidence is insufficient on its face to prove Joe Pa guilty of any wrongdoing.
While the Freeh report has ample evidence against the three top people charged with running the university, there is nothing, apparently, other than an equivocal reference to a discussion with the Coach in an email, to suggest Paterno aided, abetted or encouraged the cover-up.
It's not long. Read it yourself. Without some proof of the football coach's culpability in the coverup, the basis of the unprecedented sanctions is certainly weakened and the attack on Joe Pa's personal legacy is eviscerated. Is this why the NCAA decided not to conduct its own investigation, even limited to this one issue, the involvement of Paterno? How long would that have taken? Not very.
Of course, Penn State chose not to appeal, apparently to avoid the death penalty, so why should we care? When they caved, I assumed there was no defense of Paterno. But that conflates the university and the Coach as one and the same. After trading the article, one must ask, is it just possible the University is more than happy to throw the dead coach under the bus and pretend to be a victim of his Svengali like powers to minimize it's own malfeasance?
I certainly don't know either way. It would be nice to know, though, the whole truth beforehand, would it not, like after the criminal trials of the top Penn State leadership? Or at least let the Coach's family have a chance to defend him with a competent lawyer before their name is stained irreparably?
Oh, well. Better to act now, right?
Again, read the article. Does it at least make you think?