Joe Paterno May Exit Penn State Amid Scandal
Penn State is preparing for the exit of longtime football coach Joe Paterno, 84, just days after a scandal involving several sex crimes allegedly committed by Penn State former assistant coach and defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Although Paterno is not the focus of the investigation involving Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of eight pre-teen boys over a period of 15 years, the head coach has been implicated in the case, mainly as a part of a cover-up by high-ups in Penn State's Athletic Program. A grand jury investigation recently revealed that Paterno may have known about Sandusky's alleged criminal actions since 2002. He appears to have fulfilled his legal obligations by informing his superior, Athletic Director Tim Curley, of the abuse almost immediately upon discovering it. For this reason Paterno has not faced criminal charges himself, though both Curley and another Penn State administrator, Gary Schultz — neither of whom contacted police after learning of the abuse allegations — have stepped down from their positions and surrendered to authorities on Monday, reports The Huffington Post.
"The athletic program that has never faced an NCAA sanction is suddenly staring down the barrel … of perhaps the most heinous case ever associated with a collegiate sports team," reported the Scranton Times-Tribune.
Pennsylvania's Police Commissioner, Frank Noonan, agreed that Paterno's legal obligations had been satisfied, but questioned the coach's moral character, considering that he didn't do more to prevent the abuse he has known about since 2002. "Somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child," Noonan said, according to Huffington. "I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us."
Paterno regularly holds a press conference every week to discuss his team's performance and their next game. This week's conference, however, was cancelled on Tuesday an hour before it was set to begin. "Due to the ongoing legal circumstances centered around the recent allegations and charges, we have determined that today's press conference cannot be held and will not be rescheduled," said assistant Athletic Director Jeff Nelson in a statement.
Demands that Paterno resign, along with Penn State president Graham Spanier, who also knew about the abuse, are steadily increasing. The New York Times reported this afternoon that the university is already preparing for Paterno's exit. "Discussions about how to manage his departure have begun," said the paper.