High-ranking official says support for Paterno on Penn State board of trustees eroding quickly

  • Article by: GENARO C. ARMAS , Associated Press
  • Updated: November 9, 2011 - 3:11 AM

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Joe Paterno has overshadowed everyone and everything at Penn State for nearly half a century.

Now, support for keeping the Hall of Fame coach in the job he's held for 46 seasons is "eroding." A day that began with the university abruptly canceling Paterno's regularly scheduled news conference because of "ongoing legal circumstances" ended with the board of trustees promising a thorough investigation of the "circumstances" that led to the indictments of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in a sex-abuse scandal, and two university officials in a cover-up.

In between, students went to Paterno's home in a show of support.

"It's hard for me to say how much this means to me," Paterno told the hundreds of fans who gathered for the raucous, impromptu rally Tuesday night. "I've lived for this place, I've lived for people like you guys and girls, and I'm just so happy to see that you feel so strongly about us and about your school."

Asked if he was still Penn State's coach, the 84-year-old Paterno did not answer. A young woman who accompanied him outside and stood with her arm around him said, "Now is not the time."

Sandusky, who spent three decades on the Penn State staff before retiring in 1999, was accused of molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009. The 67-year-old's next hearing, initially scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed and has not been rescheduled. Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with failing to notify authorities after an eyewitness reported a 2002 assault.

Paterno, who earns about $1 million annually, has been Penn State's head coach since 1966 and part of the Nittany Lions staff for more than six decades. Penn State has won two national championships under Paterno, and largely avoided the run-ins with the NCAA that have embarrassed other Division I powerhouses.

Much of that has been a credit to Paterno, whose old-school values permeate every corner of the program. 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. Penn State's graduation rate is traditionally one of the best, and the Nittany Lions tied Stanford for the best mark (87 percent) among the top 25 teams in the BCS standings when the most recent study was released late last month.

All those things have inspired pride in the region and fierce loyalty to Paterno, who is the winningest coach in major college football 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. A witness, Mike McQueary, is currently receivers coach for the team but was a graduate assistant at the time.

McQueary told Paterno about the incident the next day, and the coach notified Curley and Schultz, who in turn notified Penn State president Graham 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 as Paterno, testified that they were told that Sandusky behaved inappropriately in that 2002 incident, but not to the extent of McQueary's graphic account to a state grand jury.

The same grand jury decided the testimony from Curley and Schultz, whose job at the time also gave him oversight of the campus police, were not believable. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno is not a target of the investigation, although the state police commissioner has chastised him and other Penn State officials for not doing enough to try to stop the suspected abuse.

"The kids that were the victims ... I think we all ought to say a prayer for them," Paterno said Tuesday night at his house.

The board will appoint the investigating committee at its meeting Friday, already scheduled before the scandal came to light during the weekend. The committee will examine "what failures occurred and who is responsible," and the board promised those responsible would be held "fully accountable."

"We are committed to restoring public trust in the university," the board's statement concluded.

A person familiar with the trustees' discussions said support for Paterno was "eroding," but couldn't gauge whether the board would take action. The same person said Spanier has also lost support ahead of Friday's meeting, which Gov. Tom Corbett said he plans to attend. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Earlier Tuesday, Paterno's son, Scott, said his father was disappointed over Spanier's decision to cancel the news conference. Addressing reporters outside his parents' house, Scott said Joe was prepared to answer questions about Sandusky — who maintains he is innocent — and further that his father plans to be Penn State's coach not only for Saturday's game against Nebraska, but for the long haul.

Before Paterno turned to go back into his house Tuesday night, he raised his fist three times and yelled, "We are ..."

The crowd replied, "Penn State!"

"And we'll always be Penn Staters!" Paterno said.

___

AP sports writers Nancy Armour and Jim Litke in State College and AP writers Mark Scolforo, Justin Pritchard and Justin Pope and AP researcher Judith Ausuebel contributed to this story.

  • related content

  • Video: Could this be the end for Paterno?

    Tuesday November 8, 2011

    Joe Paterno's support among the Penn State board of trustees was described as "eroding" Tuesday, threatening to end the...

  • Joe Paterno

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 20 FINAL
Oakland 24
Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Miami 93
Chicago 88 FINAL
Sacramento 103
Minnesota 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Toronto 5
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Montreal 4
Nashville 2 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Arizona 1 FINAL
Dallas 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Colorado 2
Chicago 4 FINAL
Calgary 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL(SO)
Vancouver 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Florida 3 FINAL(SO)
San Jose 2
Texas A&M 53 FINAL
Dayton 55
USC 46 FINAL
Akron 66
Coll of Charleston 57 FINAL
Connecticut 65
Drexel 46 FINAL
Miami-Florida 66
New Mexico 65 FINAL
Boston College 69
Penn State 97 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Detroit 62 FINAL
Michigan 71
Eckerd 59 FINAL
UCF 76
VU of Lynchburg 51 FINAL
East Carolina 92
Texas 71 FINAL
Iowa 57
Jacksonville 43 FINAL
NC State 79
Navy 51 FINAL
Providence 88
Grambling St 30 FINAL
Purdue 82
UMass Lowell 57 FINAL
Sacred Heart 54
Keystone 69 FINAL
St Francis-PA 102
Niagara 61 FINAL
Saint Peters 59
Palm Beach Atlantic 85 FINAL
Stetson 96
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Tennessee 70
MD-Eastern Shore 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 106
SUNY-Westbury 49 FINAL
Wagner 83
Bluefield (VA) 57 FINAL
William & Mary 100
Bob Jones Univ 41 FINAL
USC Upstate 107
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Bryant 72
Fordham 50 FINAL
Maryland 66
Howard 52 FINAL
Radford 61
Champions Bapt 29 FINAL
UT Martin 115
George Mason 65 FINAL
West Virginia 91
South Florida 73 FINAL
UAB 71
UC Davis 63 FINAL
Eastern Ill 61
Fla Atlantic 49 FINAL
Harvard 71
SMU 68 FINAL
Indiana 74
Franklin Pierce 57 FINAL
Minnesota 109
Brescia 56 FINAL
Murray State 89
North Florida 67 FINAL
Northwestern 69
Fisk 60 FINAL
Tennessee St 75
New Orleans 71 FINAL
TCU 86
Miss Valley St 61 FINAL
Tulane 100
Bucknell 65 FINAL
Villanova 72
Northwestern St 89 FINAL
LSU-Alexandria 79
Winthrop 58 FINAL
Savannah State 59
Southern U 38 FINAL
Ole Miss 69
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Northern Iowa 73
Cornell 45 FINAL
South Carolina 69
Southern Miss 67 FINAL
Alabama 81
Loyola Marymount 44 FINAL
Arizona State 68
Lipscomb 62 FINAL
Vanderbilt 72
Texas-Arlington 66 FINAL
Grand Canyon 64
Syracuse 59 FINAL
California 73
Idaho 67 FINAL
Northern Ill 78
Fresno State 52 FINAL
Northern Ariz 73
Pacific Union 56 FINAL
Pacific 81
Denver 62 FINAL
St Marys-CA 78
CS-Bakersfield 27 FINAL
San Diego St 51
Nicholls 74 FINAL
UCLA 107
Bowling Green 20 FINAL
Toledo 27
Kent State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Rice
Air Force 8:30 PM
San Diego St
San Jose St 8:30 PM
Utah State
Char Southern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11/22/14 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(18) Marshall 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UAB
Kansas 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
(14) Eastern Ky 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Florida
TX-San Antonio 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UCF
Virginia Tech 11/22/14 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 11/22/14 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 11/22/14 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Louisiana
Tulsa 11/22/14 2:00 PM
Houston
(15) Arizona 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 11/22/14 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Louisville 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Texas Tech 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Syracuse 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston College 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Tulane 11/22/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 11/22/14 3:00 PM
California
Western Carolina 11/22/14 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 11/22/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
Colorado 11/22/14 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 11/22/14 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Virginia
Vanderbilt 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 11/22/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
Oklahoma State 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 11/22/14 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 11/22/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut
Boise State 11/22/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Washington
Fresno State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
UNLV 11/22/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
TBA
Webber International 41 FINAL
Florida A&M 52
San Jose St 80 FINAL
UC-Riverside 100
Norfolk State 65 FINAL
Radford 74
Washington Adventist 44 FINAL
Morgan State 66
Alabama State 62 FINAL
Savannah State 71
VA Commonwealth 72 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Southern U 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 91
Monmouth 78 FINAL
Long Island 57
Bethune-Cookman 51 FINAL
Jacksonville 64
St Thomas (TX) 49 FINAL
Incarnate Word 64
Boston U 56 FINAL
Boston College 73
Clemson 41 FINAL
(2) South Carolina 99
(7) Duke 82 FINAL
Old Dominion 66
Belmont 35 FINAL
(12) Louisville 95
Fla Gulf Coast 69 FINAL
Auburn 72
Florida 66 FINAL
St Johns 72
James Madison 69 FINAL
American Univ 65
Philander Smith 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 76
Tougaloo 59 FINAL
Grambling 98
Virginia 71 FINAL
Xavier 62
Murray State 68 FINAL
Wright State 75
Providence 54 FINAL
Hartford 57
Holy Cross 53 FINAL
Dartmouth 69
Valparaiso 65 FINAL
Northern Ill 50
Detroit 57 FINAL
Ohio U 60
St Bonaventure 58 FINAL
Toledo 64
Mary Washington 59 FINAL
Navy 79
Michigan 64 FINAL
Pittsburgh 85
Davidson 68 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 67
Longwood 50 FINAL
Richmond 80
USC Upstate 69 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 60
(17) West Virginia 61 FINAL
Miss State 74
Concordia-Austin 31 FINAL
TX-Pan American 72
Western Ill 90 FINAL
Chicago State 55
Albany 54 FINAL
Western Ky 63
Drake 60 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 74
Memphis 58 FINAL
Illinois 60
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 51
LSU-Alexandria 70 FINAL
McNeese State 79
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Wisconsin 58
Utah 56 FINAL
Creighton 64
Weber State 71 FINAL
Air Force 53
(10) Texas 87 FINAL
(6) Stanford 81
Utah Valley U 61 FINAL
Utah State 79
New Mexico St 85 FINAL
Sacramento St 93
South Dakota 82 FINAL
Washington 96
Santa Clara 47 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 33

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers and Vikings do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close