PSU Board: Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier Out

STATE COLLEGE (KDKA) — Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier are out.

That’s according to Penn State’s Board of Trustees. They made the announcement late Wednesday night at a press conference following a meeting at the Penn Stater, a hotel and conference center on the university’s campus.

“The past several days have been absolutely terrible for the entire Penn State community, but the outrage that we feel is nothing compared to the physical and psychological suffering that allegedly took place,” John Surma, vice president of the Board of Trustees, said. “The Penn State Board of Trustees tonight decided that it is in the best interest of the university to have a change in leadership to deal with the difficult issues that we are facing.”

KDKA’s David Highfield reports more than 300 members of the media were at the hotel.

The board says Provost Rodney Erickson will act as interim president of the university. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will be interim head football coach.

KDKA’s David Highfield reports:

The news that Paterno had been fired caused audible gasps during the press conference.

“These decisions were made after careful deliberations and in the best interest of the university as a whole,” said Surma.

“Penn State has always strived for honesty, integrity and the highest moral standards in all of our activities. We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust to our university.”

Surma would not describe the telephone conversation with Paterno. However, he did say he was told of the board’s decision over the phone.

Surma also said the board’s decision was unanimous. He acknowledged that they do not yet know all the facts but the board felt this was in the long-term interest of the university.

A reporter asked Surma if the board felt Paterno should have contacted the police about what he knew.

“I don’t know that I can characterize the board’s view on specific determinations like that,” he said.

“Our view is a more larger view of what was necessary to move the university in the right direction.

“The specific aspects of these terrible activities that occurred and the terrible damage that was done really remains to be established by whatever law enforcement investigations are yet under way.”

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti reports:

Spanier released a statement about his dismissal. He said, in part:

“My heartfelt sympathies go out to all those who may have been victimized. I would never hesitate to report a crime if I had any suspicion that one had been committed.”

Paterno also released a statement overnight. It said:

“I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will forever be in your debt.”

The status of Mike McQueary, the receivers coach who allegedly witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in a shower in 2002, remains the same.

Meantime, there were reports of student riots around campus overnight, including an overturned news truck.

Penn State Students Riot After Paterno Dismissal
More News on Penn State
WARNING Contains Graphic Material: Read The Entire Grand Jury Presentment
VIDEO: Watch The Attorney General’s News Conference (11/7)
Attorney General, State Police Commissioner Statements: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 |
Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
Penn State Nittany Lions

More from David Highfield
  • Judy Block-Jones

    Reign in & educate Paterno defenders, victims urge

    Statement by Mark Serrano, SNAP Board Member (, (703) 727-4940)

    Shame on the small, loud and insensitive group of Penn State students who rallied to back Joe Paterno last night. And shame on the university’s top officials who have apparently done little or nothing to educate students about how to respond appropriately in this controversy.

    Such callous displays of support for an accused wrongdoer make it harder for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers in child sex cases to come forward, call police, expose misdeeds, protect others and start healing.

    There’s a pending criminal investigation undertaken by Attorney General Linda Kelly. Current and former Penn State students and staff can help or hinder that probe. The University president should do all he can to make sure everyone at the school helps, not hurts, the efforts by police and prosecutors to find the full truth here. Rallies in support of school officials – whether indicted or not – are harmful. And they hurt those who’ve already been hurt. The president should stop them.

    If someone wants to back Paterno, so be it. But back him privately, not publicly. Bring him cookies, write him notes or pray for him. But don’t make loud, brash, harmful public statements that rub salt into the wounds of child sex victims and deter them from stepping forward and preventing future crimes and cover ups.

    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

    Contact – David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,, Peter Isely (414-429-7259,, Judy Jones, 636-433-2511,

    • Anna

      It would be educaitonal if you could do a video re-enacting what happened, to get the msg through as there are so many “people” with apparently no conscience – you have a child in terror being attacked in a shower and the football “heros” and their coaches and their money men winking and laughing… and cheering themselves…all the way to the bank…. rewind, and have someone – a real hero – come in and rescue the child, call the police, and stand by the child as witness, regardless of what happens. Then ask, which one are you.

      • Joanna

        A ranking official who is now gone, disappeared, made the decision not to bring charges against Sandusky. Who dropped the ball there. Did the police look the other way when this decision was made because it was their superior. Shouldn’t they have done more to overstep Mr. Garci and his decision. There is blame to go around, but the real criminal here is Jerry Sandusky and not Joe Paterno.

    • Jack

      It is amazing that everyone “knows” what Joe Paterno was told word for word by his graduate assistant so many years ago. Yes we can say he should have reported it to the police but he followed procedure and told his superiors. They proceeded to cover it up because they told the graduate assistant that they were investigating it.

      It is all about how some people did not react in ways that were in the best interest of the children being abused. However it is way too easy to say what you would do when confronted with something like this, but the disturbing sight could give you pause or you may not do everything perfectly.

      Read the grand jury about the case and be more informed than just reading articles by the media.

      I am not a Penn State alum nor a student. I just believe that vilifying someone because they did not do enough is not sending a clear message to help those in need, because if you don’t report something to enough people you should not be treated as though you committed the crime.

      • Sheri Carricato

        I agree. The board took the easy way out and not taking the blame. Joe did the right thing and turned it in to the proper channels and you can only blame the board for not reacting because someone knew and didn’t say a word. I’ve seen this behavior with many board members, that’s why they have Executive and board members bonding. I will not let my child apply for Penn State now.

      • Matt

        This has everything to do with football – and it’s culture of generatig revenue for universities. I will be shocked if this kind of cover-up ever happens at an ivy or patriot league university.

      • Morales

        Jack, I did read the grand jury indictment. All of them must go Now

      • adam

        Jack, You are an idiot and i dont want you anywhere near my children and their friends. If you cant honestly say what you would do in that situation then you are as morally bankrupt as joepa, and the GA is. Any body that knew of any act like this should have gone directly to the police and is morally obligated to see that the attacker has been moved into custody and tried for their crimes. Joepa and the GA and whoever else knew about this is responsible for this and all subsequent attacks and should be prosecuted as well. they are all perverts in my eyes.

      • dave

        Jack, you are an idiot. Sandusky used football to lure the victims in. Paterno is being vilified because he didn’t call the police, and because he didn’t cut all ties with Sandusky. The least he could have done was to have him fired.

      • Erin

        What part of “Joe Paterno is not a subject of investigation” do you not understand? Should he have arrested Sandusky himself? Anyone’s child would be lucky to go to Penn State. Of course the students have taken to the streets. Joe Pa has done a ton for Penn State. As more and more college coaches move around from team to team hunting for the biggest salary, Joe Pa cared. He loved his town, his school, his team, and the entire student body. This was evident in everything he did. This is why students are protesting in public and not hiding in the shadows. People truely love Joe Pa and he loves Penn State.

    • Jon

      If you demand sensitivity, maybe it’s time you also practice it – by changing your name to stop singling out the Catholic Church for its (now obvious) failures to protect so many kids. This is a much more widespread problem, as the Penn State debacle illustrates all too clearly. You’re actually being anti-religious while trying to be pro-victim, aren’t you? Is that your goal? Try being more precise, and more fair, while you do your otherwise noble work. You ask sensitivity of others while denying them the same.

      • Jon

        @Kevin: Nope. And you know it. Instead of twisting my points, try responding to them.

        @wtp: You’re clearly not here to have an adult discussion.

      • Kevin

        So you want sensitivity to child molesters and those who protect them?

      • wtp

        PSU + Catholics = way too many child molesters.

    • sunshiney

      YES. This was a horrible horrible crime. HORRIBLE!! Now listen to me, my child is a Penn State Student. He has had it drilled into his head from DAY ONE about Penn State Pride. Now, you are an advocate for a child abuse organization, but you probably don’t care that these students are confused, saddened, even a bit embarrased by association. BUT THEY ARE! They are dealing with this the best way that they know how. My thoughts are that the school should quickly take action to provide guidance to these kids, and help them through this time. How dare you call it callous displays. There are so many facets to this. It’s just not that simple. Quit pointing fingers at these students. Ask them if they feel bad that the situation happened. They do. I’ve asked several. But this is as fresh to them as it is to you. They are trying to deal.

  • G2

    Way too many people have focused on football! What about the children? They swept it under the rug when they should have came forward LIKE MEN! Now maybe they will all get what’s coming to them. I’m not a praying man but God bless those poor kids.

    • Anna

      Well said. Further, the witness saw a child being raped in the showers and he called … NOT the police … but the coach. Next time, msg to Penn Staters – try being a real man and go bash the rapists head in, then call the police yourself. When did anyone in this society need to be TOLD that was the right thing to do. He let the kid continue being raped because of football. Sick sick sick.

  • PSU Board Of Trustees: Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier Fired. Sandusky is a Rapist « R in burbs

    […] PSU Board Of Trustees: Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier Out « CBS Pittsburgh. […]

  • Scott

    Paterno did nothing! Read the grand jury report, it’s absolutely disgusting. I don’t know how these people including Mcquery can look themselves in the mirror. Ten year old children being raped, walk away and not call the cops, are you kidding me? Paterno should be in jail with Mcquery because it led to further abuse. I’m sick to my stomach.

    • Sheri Carricato

      We love you Joe!!!!

      • G2

        If you have kids you would never say something that stupid. Yes he helped by letting it go on to protect his friend not protect those innocent kids.

  • George Orwell

    Coach Paterno is not an accused wrongdoer. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, inform his superiors at the University of the only incident that he was ever told about. The police have already cleared him of any wrong doing.

    Having worked at a University for ten years, you can guarantee that what happened is that the University leadership did all they could to sweep this under the rug and told Coach Paterno nothing of what they did.

    It is extremely sad that the career of a man who successfully and positively shaped the lives of so many students and who was a major contributor to the community has gotten swept up in the madness of the moment.

    • Fred S

      Sadly, You are correct. University leadership should be ashamed. The cover up for this is just incredible. People who suggest the board was just out to get Joe ( A reporter asked about this) are complete and total morons.

    • Walt Kaiser

      So Joe Pa is gone, are they going to fire the Clinton County DA who even after hearing Sandusky say he was sorry for doing what he did and then declined to charge him? THIS IS WHERE THE INVESTIGATION REALLY NEEDS TO START.If he and the campus police had done their jobs in 98 none of this would be happening.

      • Jack

        “If he and the campus police had done their jobs in 98 none of this would be happening.”

        That is exactly true this investigation should have stopped Sandusky in 98

      • Gk

        Prosecutor Ray Gricar went missing in 2005 and was recently declared dead. It will be kind of hard to investigate/fire a dead person.

    • Julie

      He did NOT do what he was supposed to do. Crimes get reported to the POLICE for investigation, NOT school administrations. This is not a school issue, it is an issue of law and public safety. RAPE is not something investigated by schools, but by police. YOU CALL THE POLICE. Then they’ll investigate. Why can’t people understand this?? Sandusky didn’t cheat on a test, embezzle money…he raped children!!

  • fish

    Fire global warming fraud micheal mann while you’re at it.

  • my2cents

    Kudos to Penn State for clearing house of all those that knew and did not help….now if only the Roman Catholic church and Vatican would take notes and do the same, a vast number of other victims could be prevented!!!

    • MsCynic

      UMMMM, McQueary has not been ousted and he was an EYE WITNESS to the event itself. He should be GONE… Sorry, this wasn’t stealing equipment or defacing property, he should have called the REAL POLICE and he should have done something to STOP IT immediately…not just walk away ‘deeply disturbed’! It’s supposed to be DEEPLY DISTURBING – that’s how you know you should DO SOMETHING!

  • Edo33

    Orwell, since when is the “right” thing to do when witnessing a major crime be to report it to your superiors? The only people who needed to be alerted were the police. The university is not a criminal authority.
    There may be no criminal case against Paterno, but he failed those children miserably, and he does bear great responsibility in this case, criminal or not. It’s unconscionable that Sandusky continued to have the access that he did. Character is not 400 plus football game wins. Character is all. He displayed an extraordinary lack of character. I don’t know ANYONE who would have allowed the situation to continue.

    • Jack

      Guess what? Paterno did not witness the crime. He was told of what happened by the graduate assistant and we do not know exactly what word for word was said to him. Maybe he acted appropriately maybe he did not. The janitors were far worse by not telling anyone of what was witnessed.

      • You Don't Know Jack

        Yeah right… Joe’s a real victim here. NOT!
        Read the grand jury transcript , Jack the Jerkoff. Joe Paterno & Friends covered up one of the most heinous crimes on the planet: Child Rape.
        Haven’t you even bothered to read the transcript of the grand jury testimony?
        Oh, I forgot: YOU…CAN’T…READ!!!
        You’ve been too busy watching football all these years and your brain has molted into a rotting bag of pus that overlooks Child Rape.
        Good luck to you and the rest of your pro-Child Rape pals.

      • Julie

        Jack, if he was unsure, then he should have called the police. Calling the police doesn’t = guilty verdict. It begins an investigation. When the GA came to him, he should have said, “I’ll go with you to the police to register a complaint right now.” You DON’T call your boss. They were dealing with the lives of CHILDREN.

  • Justice

    Firing Joe is the right decision! There is NO EXCUSE for his weak response to the felony that occurred. Joe Pa is an accomplice, period!!!

  • TemplarAgainst

    You are all angry at Paterno and others because they did nothing. Obviously no normal man could work with someone who was a child-rapist – unless, of course, they are also pedophiles. I do not believe one person alone was raping children. Normal men would have acted. Co-conspirators (President, Paterno, etc.) though would have done just what was done – nothing. Paterno, the President and others (maybe even alumni) should all be investigated. The behavior of the individuals and Penn State is exactly like the Catholic Church. There is more than one child rapist on campus I bet. A child-sex ring is the more likely reason why this was protected.

    • Jack

      Child sex ring? Wow that’s quite a stretch based on the facts.

      • Bubba99

        Drudgereport is reporting a child-sex ring allegation.

  • Jeff

    This was the right thing to do……

  • Yeziam12

    What is wrong with Pennsylvania – How stupid can it be to fire the President and let the Coach stay – shame on you all, putting football over what’s right.

    • Jack

      Well where ever you are from you can’t seem to read. Paterno was fired as well.

  • Joe

    Is it possible that Penn State was just following the example set forth by the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH of just sweeping “this kind of thing” under the rug???? Lets face it, the Catholic Church right up to the current Pope has shown the WORLD this example for decades!!! All this reaction to it happening at Penn State, yet how many catholics have sat by for decades and not shown this much reaction when it happens in their HOUSE OF GOD!

  • Scott

    fair question to you pervs that think Joe is a great guy. If this was your son that was in a shower being raped, sorry to say that, but raped is the term. Would that change your mind. Nobody can defend this and Joe is just one who is responsible, wait, irresponsible is the correct word.

    • Jack

      Ask the graduate assistant why he didn’t go to the police and why he went to Paterno instead.

  • megan

    Joe went to his supervisors to report what he heard! At least he did something. The board is what failed those poor kids. Joe you wil be missed at penn state! I hope I have the honor of one day calling myself a nittany lion and being an alum of where the great joe paterno worked!

    • Julie

      No. No no no. Joe should have called the police. You don’t call your boss, you call the police. They are the ones who do investigations of rape.

  • megan

    Joe followed procedure! He reported it to is supervisors and at least he had the balls to do that. I feel terrible for those kids and what they had to go through but the board failed them not joe paterno

    • G2

      You are obviously a younger person hopefully someday day you will have kids of your own and understand why so many people are angry. He followed protocol. He should have told the police not just his superiors. If your kid was RAPED you would kill him yourself if you knew that he stood by and did NOTHING!!!!!!!

    • Dave Sheeley

      He could have stopped what was going on. When it is reported to you you don’t stop til your sure it has been reported to police no exceptions. It doesn’t matter who you are or what the procedures are he knew what was right and what was wrong shame on him for not going the extra mile for these young men. God will be the final judge and I would not want to be in his shoes.

    • jonas

      joe is an adult. adults should no what to do legally and what to do morally.

  • Doug

    The graduate assistant called his dad before he went to Paterno. I see there are alot of people who are just haters who need something to scream about. In 98 even the PA Dept of Public Welfare did nothing when knowing. Why arent we talking about that. Todays media has chosen to vilify someone and make them into a bigger criminal than the person who actually committed the crime. What kind of society have we become?

  • BigA

    What a bunch of TOOLS, using the Penn State theatrics as a launching site and advertisement for their creepy website. Go save the whales, Then have the audasity to tell people how to react, this is a free country if you havent noticed Idiots! Grow up!! Bad situation all the way around made worse by human response…

  • Cogiito

    The same people who want to hang Joe would back Clinton, Kennedy, Edwards and Spitzer to the death.

    • Jeff Miller

      What a true statement that is Cogiito !! The self righteous who know all the facts already without ever being there. The same ones who preach tolerance but rip put the rope to hang anyone else with a differing view the first chance they get. Joe Paterno was used and it’s obvious to anyone sane. Those folks who don’t have a functioning and logical mind jump at anything like the mindless sheep they are.

      They scream about who should have done what when they know none of the facts. They scream for the innocent while tearing apart the innocent. It’s how the twisted operate.

      You don’t hang a good man on assumption and allegation and what the self righteous think he should have done better.

    • gman

      @cogiito.. There`s a few idiotic comments here but you`ve reached the summit of Mt. Stupidity. Comparing consensual sex with women to pedophilia?

  • morales

    Read the Grand Jury indictment. Everyone need to be fired and I mean everyone. Liberal Spanier should go to jail before he goes to he**.

  • MoreBadNews

    Did anyone notice that Sandusky has several __adpopted__ children and has served as a __foster__ parent for numerous children. I think all this needs to be investigated. The abuse is far and wide I fear.

  • Jason

    Seriously, what is wrong with you people? How debased is our society that winning football games for 46 years trumps allowing a pedophile to molest children under your watch … and you do NOTHING OF CONSEQUENCE to stop it? If you’re defending JoePa at this point for his failure to act adequately as a human being, you are exactly the reason why people are losing more respect for that institution by the second. … Good on the Board of Trustees for doing the right thing, even at this late hour.

  • Bailey

    One thing I don’t get, is how Mike McQueary .. who allegedly saw this assult, still works for the University and the football organization. He was supposedly horrified at what he saw happening. One, how in the world could someone who sees what he said he saw, not go to the police, it doesn’t make any sense. It also doesn’t make any sense how he is still around after seeing this occur. It doesn’t add up.

    • Julie


  • Jeff Miller

    The major issue we have in society today is that people can be so blind to the facts. An allegation is only an allegation and Joe Paterno is a football coach and not a campus police officer. Paterno was made aware of an allegation that he properly reported and the higher chain of command at Penn State University failed to act upon the information. Paterno was never hired to babysit Sandusky. Paterno reported the information given to him and the higher chain of command decided to sweep it under the rug instead of look into it. Don’t blame Joe Paterno for following proper procedure. Paterno was never hired on as a sexual claim investigation officer. The investigation and actions or lack of actions was the responsibility of the higher chain of command and they failed blatantly. Joe Paterno did absolutely everything correctly and the decision to fire him by the board of trustees at Penn State is reprehensible. I support Joe Paterno all the way and am no longer a fan of Penn State because of how they used this legendary coach as a scapegoat. They should be ashamed !

    Oh and thanks KDKA for allowing someone to comment on the news as they should be able to do without a need to join facebook like some in the news make you do.

    Jeff Miller

    • Julie

      Seriously? PSU has a “protocol” for what to do when a fellow coach is witnessed raping a young boy?

      You follow the protocol of being a human being, and that is calling the police. Not your boss. Of course he isn’t an investigation officer. NEITHER IS THE ADMINISTRATION. THAT is why you CALL the ones who ARE: THE POLICE.

      • Jeff Miller

        If you took the time to read my comments Julie you’d see it says to inform the police of course which is first and foremost and by saying that you’re basically agreeing with me and the common sense that says that Joe Paterno is not utlimately responsible for the criminal behavior of Sandusky. Joe reported it. McQueary should have called the cops in the first place.

  • dudefromdixie

    I think somehow this is a conspiracy to discredit Paterno and ruin his legacy. Why has this just come out now after, what, 12 years? Paterno was most likey going to retire after this season anyway. He is too old to coach and is now injured to the point where he can’t really even stay on the field. Now this has come out right before the end of the season. Makes me think maybe there is someone behind this who wants to see his career end badly. I predict JoePa will probably be dead in six months, Penn State football was his life. Just like Bear Bryant, who died the same year he retired, both men were dedicated to their schools and to their sport and always acted in the best interests of his players. JoePa does not deserve to be discredited like this. I fully believe him to be completely innocent and will be exonerated.

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