Paterno Fights to Keep Position

By Mary Collins

Paterno Fights to Keep Position

November 8, 2011 Updated Nov 9, 2011 at 9:56 AM EDT

Coach Joe Paterno is fighting for his job amid "eroding" support from Penn State's board of trustees and a widening sex-abuse scandal and possible cover-up centered on former assistant and onetime heir apparent Jerry Sandusky.

The Penn State Board of Trustees said Tuesday night it was launching an investigation into the child sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

The board released a statement saying it would appoint a special committee at its regular meeting Friday to "undertake a full and complete investigation of the circumstances that gave rise to the grand jury report" and promised to take action.

"The Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University is outraged by the horrifying details contained in the grand jury report," the strongly worded statement read.

"We cannot begin to express the combination of sorrow and anger that we feel about the allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky.

"Penn State has always strived for honesty, integrity and the highest moral standards in all of its programs. We will not tolerate any violation of these principles."

Paterno's regularly scheduled news conference was abruptly canceled Tuesday by a university spokesman who cited "ongoing legal circumstances," a reference to charges announced over the weekend that Sandusky molested eight young boys between 1994 and 2009, and that two PSU administrators who have since resigned failed to notify authorities of a 2002 incident reported by an eyewitness.

Hundreds of fans staged a raucous rally outside Paterno's home Tuesday evening. He appeared briefly, along with some family members, and thanked the crowd for coming.

"I've lived for this place. I've lived for people like you guys and girls," Paterno said.

"It's hard for me to say how much this means," the 84-year-old coach said.

"As you know, the kids that were the victims, I think we ought to say a prayer for them."

Paterno, who earns about $1 million annually from the school, has been head coach for 46 years and part of the Penn State staff for more than six decades, and his old-school values pervade every corner of the program.

Over that span, the Nittany Lions won two national championships, but unlike many other Division I powerhouses, the program avoided run-ins with the NCAA. The team generates millions of dollars each year in revenues from attendance, TV rights and sponsorships, but it has stubbornly stuck with the basic white-and-blue uniforms that are now among the most recognizable in college football.

All those things have inspired pride in the region and fierce loyalty to Paterno, who is the winningest coach in Division I and one of the most respected in any sport. That lofty status, however, has been the subject of heated arguments in recent days, among students on campus, construction workers on the street and the PSU board of trustees.

Much of the criticism surrounding Paterno has concerned his apparent failure to follow up on a report of the 2002 incident, in which Sandusky allegedly sodomized a 10-year-old boy in the showers at the team's football complex. The eyewitness, Mike McQueary, is currently receivers coach for the team but was a graduate assistant at the time.

McQueary told Paterno what he saw the next day, and the coach notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and the vice president, Glenn Schultz, who in turn notified Spanier. Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report the incident to authorities, as required by state law.

Both men, as well investigators took a statement from him and forwarded it to the Rockview station for officers there to pursue, Young said.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania said Tuesday he's asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan to look into whether the university violated the Clery Act, which requires schools to publish an annual report of all criminal offenses that are reported to campus security or local police.




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