STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP/WFAN) — A New York Times report has stated that Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is on the verge of dismissal from the position he’s held since 1966. Mike Francesa shared his feelings the matter on air Tuesday afternoon. “I thought he’d be fired by now to be honest with you. I thought he’d be fired this morning. He has not been yet but there are rumors,” Francesa stated.
WFAN’s Kim Jones, Penn State alum and former Nittany Lions Football reporter joined Francesa on Tuesday’s show from State College, Pennsylvania to discuss a number of stories and revelations following the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Jones confirmed that Joe Paterno’s Tuesday press conference was cancelled due to ‘on-going’ legal investigations. Paterno’s assistant coaches continued to work in their offices and with the team on Tuesday as they prepared for Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
One assistant not present at the team meetings was his son and assistant coach, Jay Paterno. Jones visited the Paterno family home and spoke to his son, Republican strategist Scott Paterno who told her that it was Penn State who cancelled the press conference and his father was eager to speak in front of the media.
Jones asked Scott whether he and the Paterno family knew of The New York Times report that Joe Paterno had been dismissed. He stated, “We are aware of that report and we have no knowledge of that.”
According to Jones, Penn State wide receivers coach Mike McQueary “was easily the most emotional and distraught.” Jones also understands that McQueary revealed to his players that him own time is up at Penn State. “He conveyed to his players that he would not be surprised if he was gone before Saturday’s game,” Jones explained.
Joe Paterno’s support among the Penn State board of trustees was described as “eroding” Tuesday, threatening to end the 84-year-old coach’s career amid a child sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant and one-time heir apparent.
A person familiar with the trustees’ discussions and who used the term “eroding” said it was unclear what the consequences for Paterno will be and that a decision could be rendered before the board meets on Friday.
Penn State President Graham Spanier also has lost support among the Board of Trustees, the person said, but again, how much was unclear.
Scott Paterno said his father hasn’t spoken with Penn State officials or trustees about stepping down. Addressing reporters outside his father’s house, he said his father plans to not only coach in Saturday’s game against Nebraska, but for the long haul.
“No one has asked Joe to resign,” Scott told The Associated Press in a text message.
Penn State administrators canceled Paterno’s weekly news conference during which he was expected to field questions about the sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The former defensive coordinator on Paterno’s two national championship teams in 1980s was arrested Saturday on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.
Paterno returned to practice with his team Tuesday afternoon with a circus of media following him and briefly spoke to reporters.
“I know you guys have a lot of questions. I was hoping I could answer them today. We’ll try to do it as soon as we can,” the embattled coach said to a group of reporters as he got into his car. About a dozen students stood nearby, chanting, “We love you, Joe.”
A second person familiar with the board’s discussions said it was focused on the horrific aspects of the charges against Sandusky; two university officials have also been charged in the scandal, accused of failing to notify authorities when told Sandusky had assaulted a boy in a shower used by the football team.
Trustee David Joyner said he was unaware if any decision had been made on Paterno’s future.
Authorities have said that Paterno, who testified in the grand jury proceedings that led to the charges against Sandusky, is not a target of the investigation. But the state police commissioner has chastised him and other school officials for not doing enough to try to stop the suspected abuse.
Meanwhile, another potential victim has contacted authorities.
The man, now an adult, contacted the department on Sunday after seeing media accounts of Sandusky’s arrest, Lt. David Young at the Montoursville station said. Investigators took a statement from him and forwarded it to the Rockview station for officers there to pursue, Young said.
The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, which first reported that the man had come forward, said he is in his 20s, knew Sandusky from The Second Mile charity the former coach founded in 1977, and had never told his parents or authorities about the alleged encounters from about a decade ago.
Young declined to release the man’s name or provide details about what he claims occurred.
The Patriot-News published a rare full, front-page editorial calling for this season to be Paterno’s last and for Spanier to resign immediately.
“There are the obligations we all have to uphold the law. There are then the obligations we all have to do what is right,” the editorial board wrote about Spanier’s role in the sex abuse scandal, along with Paterno’s.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in an editorial, also called on Paterno and Spanier to both resign.
A person familiar with Sandusky’s relationship to Penn State told the AP that the former coach long maintained an office in the East Area Locker building, across the street from the Penn State football team’s building, and that he was on campus as recently as week ago working out.
The university’s online directory listed Sandusky — whom Penn State officials banned from campus during the weekend — as an assistant professor emeritus of physical education in the Lasch building.
The grand jury investigating Sandusky found that he was given the office, a parking pass and other amenities as part of his 1999 retirement package.
Pennsylvania state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Monday in Harrisburg that Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators that a graduate assistant had seen Sandusky attacking a young boy in the team’s locker room shower in 2002. But the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.
“Somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child,” Noonan said.
“I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you’re a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us.”
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