first when it comes to any kind of assault by coaches or players? Would it have hurt the football team to even put him on a paid leave of absence until the matter was resolved? Maybe. But it would have been immeasurable in terms of perception.
"We're placing "X" on a paid leave of absence until the facts of this matter are more clear."
That should have been the response as soon as they were notified of the complaint. (The article makes it unclear as to when they knew she had complained formally to the police.) But at least after that you have given some cover. If formal charges were then pressed, they could then suspend him without pay.
Instead, they chose the PSU route and continued business as usual.
I agree with you that schools need to get their shit together with these types of situations. They need to respond quickly and placing the coach on leave would have been a good start; had they found the girlfriend to be lying or exaggerating, it would have been easy to reinstate the coach and I'm sure a PR person would love the chance to actually make a positive statement about a coach and a proactive response by the school for a change.
But I think their delayed reaction is still lightning quick compared to Penn State's.
Obviously once there is a formal complaint made to the police then they have to act. However, should you put someone's career in jeopardy because an ex girlfriend called you to complain about one of your employees? Obviously they needed to investigate the situation, but without any substantiation or formal police complaint, shouldn't the employee get the benefit of the doubt? Even suspending him with pay would have a permanent effect on his career.