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THE POST | News | Sports | Culture | Business | Free Forum

The Post  
Penn State Trustees say Paterno fired for "failure of leadership"
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 03/12/12 6:24 pm | updated: 03/12/12 6:24 pm
The Penn State Board of Trustees released a statement Monday explaining their reasons for firing the late head football coach Joe Paterno last November. They cited a "failure of leadership" for his actions following the reported sex assault involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky back in 2002. Although Paterno did report the incident to his superiors he did nothing more.

"We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno," the trustees wrote.

The trustees issued this statement months after their decision because of mounting criticism and pressure from Penn State alumni, students, and faculty to 'state clearly' why they reached the decision to fire Paterno and school President Graham Spanier.

Wick Sollers, Paterno's lawyer, issued a statement later on Monday saying this is just another attempt "to deflect criticism of their leadership by trying to focus the blame on Joe Paterno. This is not fair to Joe's legacy; it is not consistent with the facts; and it does not serve the best interests of the University...The Board's latest statement reaffirms that they did not conduct a thorough investigation of their own and engaged in a rush to judgment..."

The trustees also explained why they did not give Joe Paterno the news of his dismissal in person rather over the phone. "We saw no better alternative," the trustees wrote. "Because Coach Paterno's home was surrounded by media representatives, photographers and others, we did not believe there was a dignified, private and secure way to send Board representatives to meet with him there."

They also regretted not being able to give him the full message that would have included an apology about doing it over the phone and explaining he would remain under contract.

The Board is still considering it's options on how to honor Coach Paterno and his legacy at Penn State.

Graham Spanier's removal was also a result of a "failure of leadership." That "included insufficiently informing the board of his knowledge" of the 2002 allegation.

Spanier also made statements following the charges against Sandusky, expressing his "complete confidence" athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz, who were both charged with perjury and failure to report suspected abuse in connection with the case. Those statements were not authorized by the board.

To read the entire statement go to

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