Illinois Gymnastics Coach Resigns Amid Camera Scandal

Excuse me if this gets too meta, but we find this interesting. Some news stories start right away – first paragraph, first sentence, first word, you get all the information immediately. It’s the natural way of things, what you likely expect when you first click a story and get a’reading.

Other stories start slowly. (Like this one.) They swoon and massage and bring you in ever so gently, and then all of a sudden … bam. A big informational slap in the face. You never saw it coming.

This, friends, is one of those stories:

Jon Valdez has resigned after eight years as a University of Illinois men's gymnastics coach amid a university police investigation into allegations of possible misconduct by Valdez, sources said.

Assistant athletic director Kent Brown confirmed Monday that Valdez left his job on Oct. 17 for "personal reasons" but Brown would not confirm that Valdez was being investigated.

Responding to Tribune inquiry, Robin Kaler, the university's associate chancellor for public affairs, said, "There is an investigation into a camera found in a locker room on campus."

Hello! That started off so innocently, just a little investigation into possible misconduct, blah blah blah. Who hasn’t had a little misconduct between friends on the gymnastics squad, eh? I think, under most state laws, that a standard-issue gymnastics practice would automatically qualify as "misconduct." Nothing new there.

And then … bam. “Camera found in locker room on campus.” Possibly related to a coach getting fired. Now that is an interesting, compelling sentence, and my morbid concerns are suddenly piqued. We imagine this story to stay relatively low-profile for the time being, but if it manages to crystallize, that’s the sort of thing Dateline sports specials are made of. Toss in a dash of fraternity hazing, and maybe an update story about collegiate athletes getting in trouble on Facebook, and you’ve got a recipe for an hour of solid scare-you-with-reality network television.

Personally, we can’t wait.

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