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.
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