But here's where the whole thing becomes something other than a cut-and-dried case of malfeasance: The incident happened not while Slaughter was a thirty-something high school teacher at Glen Rose, but in roughly 1990, 18 years prior. It involved Slaughter, a 21-year-old student teacher at the time, and an 18-year-old high school senior, apparently a couple whose families were even friends.
It's still wrong. Period. No discussion. It's a teacher and student, no matter how you cut it. And it will forever remain a stain on Slaughter's record, as it should.
But it is also obviously not what it appears at first glance and without background, which is that thirty-something teacher and one of his students.
Why did it even come up in 2008, nearing two decades beyond the fact? Well, that's where the good-things-happening-to-bad-people angle comes in. Slaughter was about to take that Stephenville coaching job, which reportedly paid $83,000 (yes, Texas takes its high school football seriously), and someone apparently thought that was a good thing happening to a bad person. Although never confirmed, reports in Texas say the whistle-blower was the now-husband of the female student.
That doesn't really matter, though, because it became known to school officials, who began an investigation. It would appear the investigation was never completed, however, because Slaughter resigned and took a job as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at NCAA Division II Texas A&M-Commerce. A year later he voluntarily surrendered his high school teaching certificate and moved on to Stephen F. Austin. He was there three years (part of it with WVU receivers coach Shannon Dawson) before being officially hired at WVU on Tuesday.
Good things happening to bad people? Well, there's at least one person in Texas who is no doubt cringing that by blocking Slaughter's stab at an $83,000 high school coaching job he inadvertently set him on a course toward a $200,000 job at WVU.
But there's also the possibility that Slaughter's "serious error in judgment'' was just that some 22 years ago, which may or may not qualify as a bad thing (albeit by his own hand) happening to a good person.
For their part, Holgorsen and Luck don't exactly have a spotless record in making hires (Brady Ackerman anyone?), but the vast majority seem to have been good ones. And after the Ackerman incident, one would hope that the vetting process at the Coliseum has improved.
That vetting process with Slaughter (Luck referred to a "thorough background check) raised no real red flags beyond the one incident more than two decades ago involving a coach who was then half the age he is now and a student who was legally an adult.
As for Slaughter, in addition to admitting guilt and poor judgment "as a [single] young man,'' he said it was "very early in my career and that incident impacted my life and affected the lives of others. Since then many years have passed and I have matured personally and professionally. I've worked hard to make good decisions and to concentrate on being a good coach and a responsible husband and father.''
For my part, I won't judge Slaughter because I don't yet know him. But if that is his only transgression, it might be time to put it away.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.