Paterno shocked by charges, PSU rocked by scandal
STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - In his 46 years on the job, coach Joe Paterno has never quite faced a crisis like the one now hovering over Happy Valley like a dark cloud.
Indeed, scandal has hit State College.
Retired Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually assaulting eight boys. Paterno’s boss, athletic director Tim Curley, and another school administrator, face charges of perjury and failing to report to state and county officials that a witness told them he saw an alleged instance of abuse in 2002.
All at a tradition-rich school which proudly boasts the slogan “Success with Honor.”
“If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers,” Paterno in a statement issued Sunday evening by his son, Scott.
Suddenly, Paterno’s Hall of Fame credentials are a mere afterthought. Or his 409 career victories _ a Division I record. Or the Nittany Lions’ 8-1 start that has propelled them to a surprising two-game lead in the Big Ten Leaders Division.
There are much more serious questions to be asked.
“It’s shocking and surprising that’s it come up, and if it’s true then the strongest penalty should be taken against anyone engaged in a cover-up. I think it really is a shame because it is one of the few things that tarnishes Penn State football,” said Grant Brown, 18, a freshman from York, as he waited at a bus stop on campus.
Following a hastily-called meeting of school trustees Sunday night, the university accepted Curley’s request to be placed on administrative leave to devote time to his defense. Interim senior vice president Gary Schultz will step down and return to retirement for the same reason, the school said.
Paterno is not implicated in the case.
Still with remarkable swiftness over a two-day span of the team’s bye week, Penn State’s once rock-solid program descended into turmoil. While other schools were plagued by controversy after controversy _ Ohio State and Miami this year, for instance _ storied Penn State seemingly just rolled right along with about as much buzz as their plain blue-and-white uniforms.
Earlier Sunday, Paterno offered more details on his involvement with the grand jury investigation.