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Paterno told the Post that he didn’t know how to handle the charge, but a day after McQueary visited him, he spoke to the athletic director and the administrator with oversight over the campus police.

Wick Sollers, Paterno’s lawyer, called the board’s comments this week self-serving and unsupported by the facts. Paterno fully reported what he knew to the people responsible for campus investigations, Sollers said.

“He did what he thought was right with the information he had at the time,” Sollers said.

Sandusky says he is innocent and is out on bail, awaiting trial.

The back and forth between Paterno’s representative and the board reflects a trend in recent weeks, during which Penn State alumni _ and especially former players, including Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris _ have questioned the trustees’ actions and accused them of failing to give Paterno a chance to defend himself.

Three town halls, in Pittsburgh, suburban Philadelphia and New York City, seemed to do little to calm the situation and dozens of candidates have now expressed interest in running for the board, a volunteer position that typically attracts much less interest.

While everyone involved has said the focus should be on Sandusky’s accusers and their ordeals, the abuse scandal put a sour ending on Paterno’s sterling career. Paterno won 409 games and took the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and those two national championships, the last in the 1986 season. More than 250 of the players he coached went on to the NFL.

With his thick glasses, rolled up khakis and white socks, Paterno was synonymous with Penn State and was seen in many ways as the archetypal football coach, maintaining throughout his career that it was important not just to win but win with integrity.