STATE COLLEGE (AP) — 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 has also lost support among the Board of Trustees, the person said, but again, how much was unclear.
Paterno’s son, Scott, said his father hasn’t spoken with Penn State officials or trustees about stepping down. Addressing reporters outside his father’s house, he said Joe Paterno plans to not only coach in Saturday’s game against Nebraska, but for the long haul.
“No one has asked Joe to resign,” Scott Paterno told The AP in a text message.
Penn State administrators did cancel Paterno’s weekly news conference during which he was expected to field questions about the sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Scott Paterno said the decision to cancel was made by President Graham Spanier’s office, and that his father was disappointed. He said Joe Paterno was prepared to take questions about the scandal as well as the upcoming game.
Sandusky, the defensive coordinator on Paterno’s two national championship teams in 1980s and once thought of as the coach’s likely successor, was arrested Saturday on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.
A second person familiar with 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.