I cannot say that is what JoePa did, I don't have the facts, but IMO, K would have handled it much different by taking command of the situation from the start.
With your time in the Army, you must have seen leaders like this. Leaders who did the right thing regardless of the impact on their careers. The ones you respected immediately, not the political kiss tails. You probably saw others that would do whatever they had to do to CYA. I know I did in the Navy. Fortunately the CYA'ers were in the minority in my experience.
Anything is possible, but I think the answer to your question is coach K, that is why it wouldn't have gone as far as it did at PSU.