Penn State trustees fire Paterno, president
Paterno has come under harsh criticism — including from within the community known as Happy Valley — for not taking more action in 2002 after then-graduate assistant and current assistant coach Mike McQueary came to him and reported seeing Sandusky in the Penn State showers with a 10-year-old boy. Paterno notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and a vice president, Gary Schultz.
He appeared on the practice field earlier Wednesday in his signature khakis and navy windbreaker. Within five minutes of the start of practice, PSU officials told reporters to step back and then erected tall wooden boards in front of the fence.
The decision to remove the man affectionately known as “JoePa” brings to an end one of the most storied coaching careers — not just in college football but in all of sports. Paterno has 409 victories — a record for major college football — won two national titles and guided five teams to unbeaten, untied seasons. He reached 300 wins faster than any other coach.
Penn State is 8-1 this year, with its only loss to powerhouse Alabama. The Nittany Lions are No. 12 in The Associated Press poll.
After 19th-ranked Nebraska, Penn State plays at Ohio State and at No. 16 Wisconsin, both Big Ten rivals. It has a chance to play in the Big Ten championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis, with a Rose Bowl bid on the line.
After meeting Tuesday, the board said it would appoint a committee to investigate the “circumstances” that resulted in the indictments of Sandusky, Curley and Schultz in the scandal and alleged cover-up.
In Washington, the U.S. Department of Education said Wednesday it has launched an investigation into whether Penn State failed to report incidents of sexual abuse on campus, as required by federal law.
The committee will be appointed Friday at the board’s regular meeting, which Gov. Tom Corbett said he plans to attend, and will examine “what failures occurred and who is responsible and what measures are necessary to ensure” similar mistakes aren’t made again.
In his initial statement, Paterno said the trustees should “not spend a single minute discussing my status” and have more important matters to address.
According to the grand jury report, Paterno informed Curley and Schultz of his meeting with the graduate student but said Sunday he was not told about the “very specific actions” of the sexual assault.
Critics say Paterno should have done more.
“When an institution discovers abuse of a kid, their first reaction was to protect the reputation of the institution and the perpetrator,” John Salveson, former president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said this week.