Penn State: Paterno Was Fired After 'Failure Of Leadership'

Mar 12, 2012

In a report issued today, the board of directors of Penn State University confirmed what everyone already figured: They fired head coach Joe Paterno over his actions concerning the sexual abuse allegations against his once assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The university said it made its decision based on a grand jury report that said graduate student Mike McQueary had told the coach that he saw Sandusky "in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

The board says:

"While Coach Paterno did his legal duty by reporting that information the next day, Sunday, March 3, to his immediate superior, the then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the Board reasonably inferred that he did not call police. 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."

Paterno, who is credited with making the Penn football program what it is, was fired in November. He died in late January of complications from lung cancer. Sandusky is awaiting trial on child sex abuse charges.

NPR's Jeff Brady tells our Newcast unit that the report from the university comes amid sustained criticism from the university's students and fans.

In the report, the trustees also say they were "sorry" to have delivered the news of his firing over the phone, but say that they "did not believe there was a dignified, private and secure way to send Board representatives to meet with him there."

When they delivered the news, the report recounts, Paterno "ended the call" before the board member could tell him that his employment contract would continue and that he would retain his "status as a tenured faculty member."

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