Amid allegations that Penn State University covered up years of sexual abuse by one of its football coaches, Head Coach Joe Paterno will “retire” at the end of this season.
The allegations are that Paterno knew of the abuse of young boys by one of his long time assistants Jerry Sandusky. As Samhita wrote yesterday, the school allegedly knew of the abuse and covered it up for decades. Sandusky worked under Coach Paterno for 44 years.
Paterno is a college football legend. He’s been at Penn State for 61 years. It’s particularly apparent that the school values their season over the innocent victims of abuse and hence the end of the season “retirement.” What does it take to get fired these days?
Coach Paterno released the following statement announcing his “retirement”:
I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.
I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.
That’s why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.
This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University.
The board has the option to terminate him before the end of the football season. I’m hopeful they will consider this action, because while Paterno reported the abuse to the higher ups at Penn State (who covered it up), he didn’t go to law enforcement.
UPDATE: Looks like Penn State President, Graham Spanier, will likely lose his job over this scandal as well. Sources say he’ll either resign or be fired by the end of the day.