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Penn State on Joe Paterno: We really did do the right thing

December 2, 2011 | 12:56 pm

Joe Paterno. Penn State reaffirms decision to fire.
In a statement Friday that didn't contain the words "Joe Paterno" until the fourth paragraph, Penn State officially stood behind its decision to boot its longtime football coach amid the child-sexual-abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky.

The statement, headlined "Board executive committee reaffirms, ratifies earlier decisions," did come to the point within the text: "Resolved, that in the best interest of Penn State, the Board of Trustees determined that Joseph V. Paterno will no longer serve as head football coach effective Nov. 9, 2011."

Ditto for Graham Spanier. "In view of the situation and unfolding circumstances," Penn State said, it was for the best that Spanier stepped down as president, also effective Nov. 9.

The "we-did-the-right-thing" resolutions were the result of a conference call Friday involving the executive committee of the Penn State board of trustees. The "personnel decisions" were made during a week of "extraordinary circumstances," the statement said.

Paterno announced his retirement Nov. 9 amid allegations that former coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused children, including the assault of a 10-year-old boy in a campus shower in 2002. Sandusky maintains his innocence. When Paterno's retirement announcement was followed by his firing by Penn State officials, some fans of the local football legend were incensed.

Some students rioted, but others said they had no sympathy for a man they thought had been morally obligated to do more after the alleged shower assault was reported to him.

On Friday, Penn State trustees also threw their support behind new President Rodney Erickson, confirming his appointment.

The board further affirmed "its complete confidence and support of President Erickson who accepted the challenge to lead the University at this important time, and believes that he will provide the necessary stability and direction as we pursue our University's land grant mission of education, research and outreach."


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-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Joe Paterno. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Reuters