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Joe Paterno to Retire

This morning, legendary Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno has announced he will retire after this Saturday’s home game against Nebraska, in the middle of his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions.

The 84-year-old coach is the winningest in the history of college football, with 409 as the head coach. He has served on the coaching staff since 1950, and has been a part of 691 of Penn State’s games overall, 56.5% of their total games since the start of the program in 1887.

There have been calls for Paterno to retire in the past, but none as loud as the ones that have risen in the last week, since former assistant coach Gary Sandusky was arrested and charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse; Athletic Director Tim Curley and Penn State Senior Vice President Gary Schultz were also charged in failing to report the incident to police. Paterno was not charged, and when the story first broke it sounded like the coach had nothing to do with any of the incidents. In fact, he followed the letter of the law when he was informed by a graduate student of a disturbing incident he observed in the shower in a football facility; he informed AD Curley, but the buck stopped there. Curley and Schultz allegedly did nothing to prevent the further abuse of Sandusky’s victims, and even allegedly perjured themselves during an investigation into the abuse.

The resignation of Paterno, or “JoePa” as he is affectionately called around the campus, marks yet another in a string of head coach resignations in college football. The circumstances surrounding the resignation are far more distressing than, say, that of Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, but it does further the trend we’ve seen in recent years of head coaches either covering up or not doing enough to stop and prevent misconduct in their football programs. The once-sacred world of college football has been rocked by scandal recently, but none of the scandals have been as tragic and serious as this one at Penn State. According to multiple reports, there is a significant possibility that Penn State will be forced to “clean house,” all the way up to the president of the university.

Kelly B
Sources: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7211281/penn-state-nittany-lions-joe-paterno-retire-end-season

  1. November 10, 2011 at 5:45 am

    We were talking about this in my SMAD 241 (Corporate Communication) class on Tuesday. My teacher came in and said “What would you do if you were in charge of PR at Penn State?” All of us stared at him blindly; what would we do? Truth is, none of us could come to a conclusion about what to do, but we talked about the possibility of having to “clean house” all the way up to the president of the university. We thought that might be a good idea, but also thought that having the president resign would make it seem like he too was involved in the scandal or knew about it, and didn’t report it. It brings up an interesting point. Good post though.

  2. Jessica Albert
    November 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    It is very sad to see this happen. I’m not a sports fan and I didn’t know who Paterno was until this past week, but it’s still sad. I think that the most important thing to highlight here is that this was a lapse in moral judgement on many people’s parts. Because of these lapses, such a successful career has come to an end. I agree with you that things seem to be getting worse among college football teams. I feel like things are always kept taboo in order to maintain the reputation of the football program. However, as we all know, the longer things are kept a secret, the worse it is when it comes out. I’m interested to see how all of this unfolds. Thanks for writing about this. Have a good week.

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