Paterno as Penn State coach
February 10th, 2013
12:42 PM ET

Paterno family: Freeh report 'factually wrong'

The family of the late Joe Paterno released a report Sunday morning that absolved the coaching great of blame in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and said a prior review commissioned by Penn State University was "factually wrong, speculative and fundamentally flawed. "

Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh put together the new report, the Paterno family said in a written statement.

"The experts determined that the conclusions of the (university) report are based on raw speculation and unsupported opinion - not facts and evidence," Thornburgh said, according to the statement.

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Penn State supporters mark anniversary of Joe Paterno's death
Loyal fans gather Tuesday at a mural depicting late football coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State luminaries.
January 22nd, 2013
10:02 PM ET

Penn State supporters mark anniversary of Joe Paterno's death

On the anniversary of the death of Joe Paterno, a few dozen people visited a mural depicting the image of the college football coaching legend whose legacy was tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

With the temperature in single digits, about 40 fans in State College, Pennsylvania, stopped by the mural that depicts Paterno and other prominent figures in Penn State University history, according to video shot by CNN affiliate WHP.

Paterno died January 22, 2012, at age 85 in a State College hospital, according to his family. He had been suffering from lung cancer and a broken pelvis.

He had been the all-time leader in major college football victories for a coach, with 409 wins. But a decision by the governing body of major college sports struck 111 victories from his record, beginning in 1998 - a move that posthumously bumped him from the top of the list.

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Rebuilding a legacy
August 31st, 2012
10:19 PM ET

Penn State scandal: Where things stand

The Penn State football team started its first season since former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

The Nittany Lions' home game against Ohio University also will be the first time since 1966 that the team starts a season without Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, who died in January, two months after the board of trustees fired him for allegedly failing to take his knowledge of the scandal to appropriate authorities.

Though Sandusky was convicted in June, many parts of the Sandusky matter have not been resolved. Here is where things stand in the scandal:

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Jerry Sandusky brick removed from State College walkway
The brick bearing Jerry Sandusky's was removed on Thursday after photos posted online sparked complaints.
August 30th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Jerry Sandusky brick removed from State College walkway

A brick bearing Jerry Sandusky's name and that of his Second Mile charity has been removed from a walkway in downtown State College, Pennsylvania.

The brick is one of nearly 3,000 along Centennial Walkway in the downtown part of campus. The bricks bear the names of many notable figures from Penn State, including former President Graham Spanier and his wife as well as other alumni.

The Sandusky brick had gone mostly unnoticed as students passed through McAllister Alley, not far from the school's Old Main building, until it was noticed on Wednesday by the student-run independent Penn State blog Onward State and photographed by others, including a CNN journalist in State College.

The photo prompted calls for it to be pulled up, considering the school had torn down a statue of legendary former coach Joe Paterno in the wake of a scandal that has left Sandusky jailed for sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years. The school had no authority to remove the brick, many mentioned, since it wasn't on Penn State property.

Pat Daugherty, owner of the Tavern, a restaurant located along the walkway, said he received a call from State College Borough Manager Thomas J. Fountaine II on Thursday morning saying he had received calls after the photos circulated online.

"We honestly were not aware the brick was there until a day or two ago," Fountaine said.

He said it took a couple days to figure out whether officials could remove the brick, because ownership of the pedestrian walkway was unclear, but it wasn't specifically borough property.

That's when Fountaine called Daughterty, who offered to remove the brick.

"There was some vandalism that was occurring as well," Fountaine said. "Because of that and other issues, we thought it was appropriate to remove it."

Daugherty said he would probably return the brick to the borough because somebody had probably paid to have it put there during the school's centennial celebration.

Penn State to give back trophies because of NCAA sanctions
Penn State's trophy for their win in the 2006 Orange Bowl game is one of several they will return because of NCAA sanctions.
August 29th, 2012
04:27 PM ET

Penn State to give back trophies because of NCAA sanctions

Penn State will have to return all of the football trophies they won during a 14-year span as a result of sanctions handed down by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for school's role in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, a school official said on Wednesday.

The move is another blow to the State College community, which has been plagued by the scandal for nine months.

Earlier this summer the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million, banned the football program from bowl games for four years, stripped scholarships and vacated the team's wins from 1998 to 2011 following the Freeh Report, which issued a scathing statement about how much the university knew and when.

"Per the NCAA consent decree, all football team trophies won from 1998-2011 are to be returned to the awarding authority and we plan to do so," said Jeff Nelson, assistant athletic director of communications for football at Penn State.

Some of the trophies that the school will have to return include their bowl game wins. Penn State won the Outback Bowl in 1999 and 2007, the Alamo Bowl in 1999 and 2007, the Orange Bowl in 2006 and the Capital One Bowl in 2010.

While those residing in Happy Valley are still trying to resurrect their image in the wake of the scandal and show they still back their team, they do have one thing to smile about this week as they head into their first football game without famed coach Joe Paterno in more than four decades.

Their spirit has won them $10,000 for the school's general scholarship fund after they beat out more than 200 other schools in a voting campaign hosted on ESPN.com, according to a press release sent out by the school.

Penn State led the competition from start to end, the release said.

“We are elated to see this incredible expression of Penn State pride, spirit and support demonstrated by our students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends and fans in winning the Pledge Your Allegiance contest,” Roger Williams, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association, said in a statement. “This national victory is what Nittany Nation is all about. We know Penn Staters everywhere will join us in celebrating by wearing their blue and white with great pride.”

No 'Sweet Caroline' at Penn State games, no public allowed in most athletic facilities
The Penn State football team takes the field against Alabama on September 10, 2011.
August 28th, 2012
10:50 AM ET

No 'Sweet Caroline' at Penn State games, no public allowed in most athletic facilities

Penn State football fans will no longer be singing "Sweet Caroline" while cheering on their Nittany Lions, according to university officials.

Neil Diamond's classic song, often sung at sporting events and particularly at Boston Red Sox baseball games, has been rotated out of the playlist for Beaver Stadium this year.

Chatter quickly began building on the State College campus and on social media platforms after the Altoona Mirror newspaper reported that officials were concerned about the lyrics to the song, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at the university, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He continues to maintain his innocence.

The song, said to be written about Caroline Kennedy, contains the lyrics: "Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you."

But those words, and the scandal, have nothing to do with removing the song from the game day playlist, Penn State spokesman David La Torre told CNN.

"Absolutely no song changes were made based on lyrics. This song has come up on the list in recent years because it happens to be played in so many other professional and collegiate venues and has no real origination here at Penn State," he said. "So while wholesale changes to what happens on game day are not in store, some 'updating' is going to occur, including the music playlist."

La Torre said the updating happened to include "Sweet Caroline" and noted that these changes happen "each year for both recorded music and the Blue Band," which plays at the games. The Altoona Mirror has recently updated its story to reflect that the choice was not made because of song lyrics.

While the playlist update may not be a result of the scandal, there has been one change that grew out of the Sandusky incident.

The numerous athletic facilities around Penn State will no longer be available to the public, a decision that Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers tells CNN was made as a result of several factors.

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July 26th, 2012
10:36 AM ET

Report: Penn State faced 4-year 'death penalty'

Penn State faced a multiyear shutdown of its football program had it not agreed with the sanctions imposed by the NCAA earlier this week, university President Rodney Erickson told ESPN.

The football program at Penn State faced a four-year "death penalty," a complete cessation of football activities, Erickson said, according to the ESPN report, as well as fines well in excess of the $60 million levied.

The four-year death penalty option was confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert, who said in a separate interview with ESPN that what the network termed "a core group of NCAA school presidents" had agreed on the unprecedented sanctions.

Once Penn State learned of the NCAA intentions, school officials engaged in five days of secret discussions with the NCAA that resulted in the penalties announced Monday, ESPN reported. Those include the record $60 million fine, a four-year postseason ban, a four-year reduction in football scholarships and five years of probation. Penn State also was forced to vacate its football victories since 1998, including 111 by the late coach Joe Paterno.

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Penn State alum: 'We are more than this tragedy'
An image of a Nittany Lion with the message of "Rise" has been popular on Twitter among Penn State alums and supporters.
July 25th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

Penn State alum: 'We are more than this tragedy'

The Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University and football fans across the nation culminated this week in an unprecedented fine of $60 million against the school and severe sanctions for the Division I football program. The Nittany Lions are banned from the postseason for four years, will lose 20 football scholarships a year for four seasons and had 14 seasons of football victories from the late coach Joe Paterno vacated.

There's been no shortage of commentary on the issue: Was the NCAA too quick to make the decision? What will it mean for football? What does it mean for the legacy of Paterno?

But there's also the issue of how the Penn State community will now come together. Alums have responded in force, tweeting, posting photos and defending their school not for the actions that occurred but to show the rest of the world they won't let this scandal be their school's best known chapter.

Some have posted photos with the "WE ARE" Penn State chant but somewhat altered. One said: "Don't let people who don't know who 'we are' ... tell us who WE ARE." It has been a rallying cry of sorts, joining together alums from long ago with recent graduates. Many have been tweeting with the hashtag #WeAreAndAlwaysWillBe. Groups on Facebook have been created so alums and current students can share their views, including one called "We Are (still) Penn State."

"This is a group dedicated to healing the scars of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, recognizing and honor the victims and rebuilding the reputation of Penn State University and its football team as one of the premier institutions of higher learning and athletic tradition not only in the country but in the entire world," the group's page said. "We still believe that 'Success With Honor' is who we are, and that Coach Bill O'Brien is the best man to carry on that tradition on and off the field. The actions of an evil man and those that enabled and apologized for him do not define us, and it is our responsibility to write the next chapter in the history of Penn State."

Patterson Weaver, a lawyer who graduated from Penn State in 2001, posted a lengthy note on Facebook describing how he cannot reconcile what happened with the school he knows. Weaver said the world should know the actions of the few responsible should not define the culture of the university as a whole.

Weaver has given CNN permission to post his note in entirety below:

"Apparently, Sports Illustrated will run a cover this week that reads 'We Were Penn State.' Sports Illustrated and so many others clearly have no understanding of who We are. As a second-generation Penn State grad, I have grown up idolizing Penn State, Joe Paterno, and the excellent institution of higher learning that Penn State was, is, and will always be. I am one of hundreds of thousands that consider the Penn State community something unique and special. This goes beyond a football field. This goes beyond school pride. The culture at Penn State, in no small part because of Joe Paterno, taught all of us how to be better people, better friends, and better members of our families and our community.

"So how do I reconcile that with the allegations that a few individuals, including Joe Paterno, remained silent about the terrible actions of Sandusky? Honest answer is I can’t. The allegations do not gel with what each of us learned from our university, and yes, from Joe Paterno. Penn State has always been a beacon of how to do things the right way. Of putting academics and building quality young men and women ahead of fame and wins. I cannot reconcile these allegations with the culture that helped mold who I am. The culture that helped teach me that success is only sweet when done right. That a loss with integrity is better than a win without it. That who we are as men and women is more important than fleeting glory. I cannot reconcile what people are saying of my school with the school I lived and experienced.

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July 23rd, 2012
05:04 PM ET

Do sanctions alter history books on Penn State and Paterno's legacy?

The NCAA's actions on Monday seem to be about more than just punishing Penn State's future football teams for the school's role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

In addition to the fines, bans and other sanctions it handed down that will hurt the storied program for a long time, in some eyes, the NCAA has wiped out almost all of the success of teams under coach Joe Paterno starting the moment he learned about Jerry Sandusky's actions but didn't do anything about it.

"Obviously, the 1998 date was selected because that's when the first reported incidents of abuse occurred and that's when the failure to respond appropriately began," NCAA President Mark Emmert said during a news conference on Monday. "And that was the point of time from which one could make an argument, of course, that the failures began inside the institution, so it seemed to both me and the executive committee that that was the appropriate beginning date."

Emmert's message was clear: The NCAA was choosing to punish a culture of silence, a culture that protected the program above all moral obligations and those responsible for making it that way.

Vacating wins has long been a debate in all sports. And so there is no surprise that the NCAA's ruling on Monday sent the debate over the decision to vacate the wins into a tailspin. But it raised questions about the implications the sanctions will have on past and current players, Paterno's legacy and ultimately Penn State's place among the best football programs.

Some say you can erase the wins, but it is an empty punishment that does nothing to move the university forward and doesn't ultimately change the facts. Others say it is the best way to punish a school: by wiping out a massive chunk of its history.

ESPN analyst and lawyer Jay Bilas told CNN that while the Penn State situation is egregious, the NCAA failed in doling out the penalties to the right people.

He believes the NCAA hammered the institution but failed to really hit those he believes are responsible, including former President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley, former Interim Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz and Paterno.

“All any of them had to do was communicate (the Sandusky reports) to someone else. And all of them chose to be silent,” he said. “That’s unforgivable and unconscionable. The suggestions or implication that the football culture made them abandon their human decency is kind of offensive. Football didn’t do that; that was done by four individuals in positions of authority that could not be counted upon to do the right.”

And the message sent by the NCAA and Penn State based on the consent decree, Bilas believes, is that the culture of football was at fault, and so that institution should be punished. But Bilas believes that message neglects to get at the really heart of the issue.

“Putting this off on football just glosses over the fact that individuals were at a fault here, and they are not being held to account,” he said.

Bilas said he understood the frustration and anger of current and former Penn State players who say that by punishing the institution, the NCAA was punishing them, too.

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Five experts: What happens to Penn State football?
Large crowds and Penn State victories at Beaver Stadium may be a thing of the past, college football experts say.
July 23rd, 2012
01:29 PM ET

Five experts: What happens to Penn State football?

Saying it is "a stark wake-up call to everyone involved in college sports," the NCAA announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University on Monday and took away 14 seasons of football victories from the late Joe Paterno.

The school's football team was also banned from the postseason for four years and will lose 20 football scholarships a year for four seasons, NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

Emmert said the unprecedented fine will be paid over five years to fund programs that serve the victims of child sexual abuse.

The Big Ten Conference also acted Monday, ruling Penn State ineligible for its conference title football game and saying the Nittany Lions' share of bowl revenues for the next four seasons - approximately $13 million - will be donated to charities that "protect children."

So what does that mean for the future of Penn State football? Five experts weigh in:

Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel says a year of the "death penalty," a complete ban on football, would have been preferable to the sanctions Penn State received.

"It could've been abolished for a year, continued mostly business as usual and been back long before these recruiting sanctions will endure," Wetzel writes of Penn State football.

"It's nearly impossible to recruit a great or even good player when he knows he can't participate in the postseason until he is, at best, a senior. Any player worth his scholarship wants to compete for championships. Penn State players can't. So why wouldn't recruits just go to Michigan or Alabama or wherever?"

Dan Levy, national lead writer for the Bleacher Report, calls the sanctions "murder by suicide, college football style."

"Make no mistake: The NCAA sanctions are a death knell for Penn State football," Levy writes.

"The NCAA stepped in to make it virtually impossible for Penn State to field a competitive team this year, next year or any year in the next half decade," Levy says. "If that's not death, what is?"

Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock lines up with Wetzel and Levy.

"The sanctions cripple Penn State football. The four-year bowl ban, four-year scholarship reductions and the freedom granted to current players to transfer immediately without penalty or simply decline to play while maintaining their scholarships will make Penn State the Vanderbilt of the Big Ten," Whitlock writes. (Vanderbilt is a longtime doormat in the powerhouse Southeastern Conference.)

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Big Ten adds to NCAA sanctions
Students at Penn State react to the NCAA announcement of sanctions against their school's football program.
July 23rd, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Big Ten adds to NCAA sanctions

Editor's note: The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University on Monday and banned its football team from the postseason for four years. The school will also forfeit all football wins from 1998, NCAA President Mark Emmert said. That decision strips the late Joe Paterno of the title of winningest coach in major football college history.

[Updated 10:53 am ET] The Big Ten conference added its own sanctions against member Penn State after the NCAA announced its penalties on Monday.

Penn State will not be allowed to participate in the Big Ten conference title game for the same four years in which it is banned from post season bowl games by the NCAA. Penn State will also not be allowed to share in the conference's bowl revenues for those four years, about a $13 million hit, according to a Big Ten press release. That money will be donated to children's charities, the release said.

[Updated 10:36 am ET] The NCAA sanctions against Penn State include the following restrictions on scholarships it can offer:

"Penn State must also reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period."

That means the football program can only offer the equivalent of 15 full scholarships to incoming freshmen or transfer students per year for four years beginning with the 2013-14 academic year and can only offer 65 full scholarships total each year beginning with the 2014-15 academic year. Scholarships may be divided among players as partial scholarships.

Former Penn State player Derek Moye says the vacating of victories ordered by the NCAA can't erase his memories of what he has been a part of:

Former Penn State player A. Q. Shiplet tweets a picture of rings he won at Penn State:

[Updated 10:20 am ET] Former Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark tweets on his reaction to the NCAA sanctions:

[Updated 10:03 am ET] A statement from current Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien on the NCAA sanctions:

"Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as Head Coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence. I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead.  But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.

I was then and I remain convinced that our student athletes are the best in the country.  I could not be more proud to lead this team and these courageous and humble young men into the upcoming 2012 season. Together we are committed to building a better athletic program and university."

Do you think the NCAA penalties against Penn State were fair? Share your view with CNN iReport.

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July 23rd, 2012
07:37 AM ET

Monday's live events

The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - NCAA announces Penn State sanctions - One day after the Joe Paterno statue was removed outside Beaver Stadium, the NCAA will reveal "significant, unprecedented" penalties against Penn State University over the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

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July 18th, 2012
12:40 PM ET

Penn State: Paterno statue decision due in days

A decision will be made on the future status of the embattled statue of former head football coach Joe Paterno "within seven to 10 days," Penn State spokesman David La Torre told CNN on Wednesday.

A small plane flew around the Penn State campus on Tuesday carrying a banner that read, "Take the Statue Down or We Will," a reference to the statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium.

The statue is among many vestiges left from Paterno's 46 years as head coach of the Nittany Lions, a run that ended in disgrace in November when he was fired in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

"I'm a Penn State employee that thinks we have failed miserably, and I'm sad for the damage that has been done, but this is just upsetting," Diane Farley, a PSU alumnus who spotted the plane on Tuesday told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg. "It's just stirring up everything."

Many people are calling for the Paterno statue to be torn down.

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July 17th, 2012
05:02 PM ET

NCAA not ruling out tough sanctions on Penn State football

It's still not clear what the future holds for Nittany Lions football after a child sex abuse scandal implicated top Penn State officials and placed a former assistant coach behind bars.
That was the message from National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark Emmert, who spoke with PBS in his first public comment on the matter during an interview broadcast Monday. 
Emmert said he doesn't want to "take anything off the table" regarding NCAA-imposed penalties, adding that he'd "never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university."
"What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we'll have to decide," he said.

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Airborne banner: Take down Paterno statue
A plane carries a banner reading "Take the Statue Down or We Will" above the Penn State campus on Tuesday.
July 17th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Airborne banner: Take down Paterno statue

A small plane flew around the Penn State campus on Tuesday carrying a banner that read, "Take the Statue Down or We Will," a reference to the statue of former head football coach Joe Paterno that sits outside Beaver Stadium.

The statue is among many vestiges left from Paterno's 46 years as head coach of the Nittany Lions, a run that ended in disgrace in November when he was fired in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

"I'm a Penn State employee that thinks we have failed miserably, and I'm sad for the damage that has been done, but this is just upsetting," Diane Farley, a PSU alumnus who spotted the plane on Tuesday told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg. "It's just stirring up everything."

Many people are calling for the Paterno statue to be torn down.

In an ESPN poll, more than 60% of respondents said the statue should be removed immediately or sometime before the 2012 football season commences.

A Penn State student group eliminated another Paterno vestige on Monday, renaming the encampment where students line up overnight to get the best seats for football games, from Paternoville to Nittanyville.

The action comes after a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh last week that found that several school officials had "empowered" Sandusky to continue sexually abusing minors. Paterno could have stopped the attacks had he done more, Freeh concluded.

Sandusky was convicted last month of sexually abusing children over 15 years, with much of the abuse occurring on the Penn State campus. He is awaiting sentencing.

Paterno died of lung cancer in January at the age of 85, two months after he was fired because of the Sandusky scandal.

In his 46 years as head coach at Penn State, Paterno achieved mythic status. But with the release of the Freeh report, many no longer want the symbols of that status, including the name of the encampment, to have such prominence in the university community.

"Now, it's a new era of Nittany Lion football," Troy Weller, a Penn State senior and president of the newly retitled Nittanyville Coordination Committee, said in a statement Monday. "And by changing the name to Nittanyville we want to return the focus to the overall team and the thousands of students who support it."

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July 12th, 2012
12:18 PM ET

Reactions to Penn State report flood social media

Penn State University bashers and supporters alike took to Twitter and Facebook on Thursday when the report on an internal probe into the school's child sex abuse scandal was released.

Lavar Arrington, a former Penn State player, responded on Twitter after reading the report.

The probe found that top university officials, including former President Graham Spanier and then-head football coach Joe Paterno, concealed child sex abuse by ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky  and showed a "total and consistent disregard" for his victims. The concealment was meant to "avoid the consequences of bad publicity," the report said.

Penn State leaders disregarded victims, 'empowered' Sandusky, review finds

The probe's leader, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, said that ex-athletic director Tim Curley consulted with Paterno following allegations against Sandusky and "they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities."

Key players in the Penn State report

This, the report found, resulted in a failure to protect Sandusky's victims or warn the public about his behavior.

How the Sandusky case unraveled

Heated conversations immediately began on Penn State's Facebook page.

"The only important part of that report are the recommendations for the FUTURE! We need to all take a lesson from this, learn from some mistakes and use the recommendations to move on to make PSU a stronger place. It makes no sense discussing what happened in the past and what emails were sent. Complaining about the past does not make for a strong future!" Joey Schwartz wrote.

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July 12th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

Paterno family's statement on Freeh report

The following is a statement from the family of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, following Thursday's release of an internal report criticizing Penn State's handling of child sexual abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky:

"We are in the process of reviewing the Freeh report and will need some time before we can comment in depth on its findings and conclusions. From the moment this crisis broke, Joe Paterno supported a comprehensive, fair investigation. He always believed, as we do, that the full truth should be uncovered.

"From what we have been able to assess at this time, it appears that after reviewing 3 million documents and conducting more than 400 interviews, the underlying facts as summarized in the report are almost entirely consistent with what we understood them to be. The 1998 incident was reported to law enforcement and investigated. Joe Paterno reported what he was told about the 2001 incident to Penn State authorities and he believed it would be fully investigated. The investigation also confirmed that Sandusky's retirement in 1999 was unrelated to these events.

"One great risk in this situation is a replaying of events from the last 15 years or so in a way that makes it look obvious what everyone must have known and should have done. The idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child predator is impossible to accept. The far more realistic conclusion is that many people didn't fully understand what was happening and underestimated or misinterpreted events. Sandusky was a great deceiver. He fooled everyone – law enforcement, his family, coaches, players, neighbors, University officials, and everyone at Second Mile.

"Joe Paterno wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he regretted them. He is still the only leader to step forward and say that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. To think, however, that he would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic. If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions.

"We appreciate the effort that was put into this investigation. The issue we have with some of the conclusions is that they represent a judgment on motives and intentions and we think this is impossible. We have said from the beginning that Joe Paterno did not know Jerry Sandusky was a child predator. Moreover, Joe Paterno never interfered with any investigation. He immediately and accurately reported the incident he was told about in 2001.

"It can be argued that Joe Paterno should have gone further. He should have pushed his superiors to see that they were doing their jobs. We accept this criticism. At the same time, Joe Paterno and everyone else knew that Sandusky had been repeatedly investigated by authorities who approved his multiple adoptions and foster children. Joe Paterno mistakenly believed that investigators, law enforcement officials, University leaders and others would properly and fully investigate any issue and proceed as the facts dictated.

"This didn't happen and everyone shares the responsibility."

More on this story:

Penn State leaders showed 'total disregard' for victims, review finds

Key players in Penn State report

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July 12th, 2012
08:59 AM ET

PSU officials concealed Sandusky's activities, probe says

An internal probe into the Penn State child sex abuse scandal found that top university officials, including former president Graham Spanier and then-head football coach Joe Paterno, concealed evidence of abuse by ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

An effort to avoid bad publicity "is the most significant, but not the only, cause for this failure to protect child victims and report to authorities," the investigation found.

Spanier and Paterno, as well as former university vice president Gary Schultz and ex-athletic director Tim Curley, participated in "an active decision to conceal" allegations against Sandusky, the probe's leader told reporters Thursday. Additionally, the report says the officials failed to inquire about the victims' well-being, even failing to try to identify a boy who allegedly was sexually assaulted in a Penn State shower in 2001.

Also, Penn State officials were poised to report that February 2001 sex abuse allegation, but they "changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities" after Curley consulted with Paterno, the head of the probe, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, told reporters.

Full CNN report: Penn State leaders showed 'total disregard' for victims, review finds

The full Freeh report

Clery Act at center of Penn State probe, 26 years after teen's murder

Key players in Penn State report

Share your thoughts with CNN iReport.

The 267-page findings of the Penn State-funded internal review were released Thursday morning. The report focuses on what school officials knew about Sandusky's behavior. The scandal led some people to claim the school put its reputation ahead of protecting potential child victims.

A jury last month convicted Sandusky, 68, the Nittany Lions' former defensive coordinator, on multiple charges of sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years.

Here is a running log of the Thursday's developments:

[Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET] Around the time that Nike was announcing that it was changing the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center on Nike's campus in Beaverton, Oregon (see 1:46 p.m. entry), Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight released this statement:

“Other than my parents, my college coach, Bill Bowerman, was the biggest influence in my life. Bill Bowerman and Joe Paterno shared some great qualities. Throughout Joe Paterno’s career, he strived to put young athletes in a position to succeed and win in sport but most importantly in life. Joe influenced thousands of young men to become better leaders, fathers and husbands.

"According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day. My love for Joe and his family remains.”

– Phil Knight, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, NIKE, Inc.

[Updated at 1:46 p.m. ET] The president of Nike Inc. has announced that the firm is changing the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center, a child care center at the Nike headquarters near Beaverton, Oregon, in the light of the Freeh report.

"I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State," Mark Parker said.

[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET] As promised, here is the link to the Paterno family's full statement.

[Updated at 11:38 a.m. ET] Another key point from the Paterno family statement: "We have said from the beginning that Joe Paterno did not know Jerry Sandusky was a child predator. Moreover, Joe Paterno never interfered with any investigation. He immediately and accurately reported the incident he was told about in 2001."

A link to the full statement is coming.

[Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET] Paterno's relatives say that although they will need some time to read the report before they can comment in depth, they accept the criticism that Paterno could have done more, but "at the same time, Joe Paterno and everyone else knew that Sandusky had been repeatedly investigated by authorities who approved his multiple adoptions and foster children."

"Joe Paterno mistakenly believed that investigators, law enforcement officials, University leaders and others would properly and fully investigate any issue and proceed as the facts dictated," Paterno's family said in a statement.

The statement adds: "Joe Paterno wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he regretted them. He is still the only leader to step forward and say that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. To think, however, that he would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic. If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions."

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Filed under: College football • Crime • Football • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Pennsylvania • Sports
Joe Paterno was fired after scandal for 'failure of leadership,' Penn State trustees say
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno pushes his way through his players during a timeout at a game last year.
March 12th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

Joe Paterno was fired after scandal for 'failure of leadership,' Penn State trustees say

Joe Paterno was fired as head coach of the Penn State football team because the university's board of trustees thought he failed to take his knowledge of a scandal at the school to the appropriate authorities, the board said in a report posted online Monday.

The trustees said they based their decision to fire Paterno heavily on testimony he gave to a grand jury about allegations that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

During testimony, Paterno said that he was told by a graduate assistant that Sandusky was in the showers "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

"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," said the report explaining Paterno's firing. "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."

The head coach died in January at the age of 85.

Paterno's family released a statement saying they felt the report was an attempt to deflect criticism from the university.

"The Paterno family is surprised and saddened that the Board of Trustees believes it is necessary and appropriate to explain – for the fourth or fifth time – why they fired Joe Paterno so suddenly and unjustifiably on Nov 9, 2011," they said. "The latest statement is yet another attempt by the Board to deflect criticism of their leadership by trying to focus the blame on Joe Paterno.

"This is not fair to Joe's legacy; it is not consistent with the facts; and it does not serve the best interests of the University. The Board's latest statement reaffirms that they did not conduct a thorough investigation of their own and engaged in a rush to judgment."

In their report, the trustees said they spent hours during the course of a week discussing how they should react to the scandal and who needed to be held responsible. The board fired Penn State President Graham Spanier along with Paterno.

"We determined on Nov. 9 that Dr. Spanier should be removed because he failed to meet his leadership responsibilities to the Board and took insufficient action" after learning about the incident, the board said in its report. "This failure of leadership included insufficiently informing the Board about his knowledge of the 2002 incident. He also made or was involved in press announcements between Nov. 5-9 that were without authorization of the Board or contrary to its instructions."

FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: 'If you didn't go to Penn State, you wouldn't understand'
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has died, his family confirmed Sunday. He was 85, and is seen here in 1988.
January 24th, 2012
06:12 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'If you didn't go to Penn State, you wouldn't understand'

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Many of our readers are having a hard time reconciling the legacy of Joe Paterno, who died Sunday at the age of 85. The late Penn State coach took criticism for his response to allegations against Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant. We heard from many supporters as well as many who were outraged.

Mourners line up to pay respects to Joe Paterno

This commenter, along with many others, was critical of Paterno.

joeyshmoey: "He was the head coach. He made all decisions as to who was his coaching staff. He looked the other way and kept this monster on his coaching staff. Winning was more important then the lives of those kids. How can you justify continuing to work with the guy for so long. ..."

Some readers said Paterno was taking too much blame for the Sandusky case.

atomicwaste: "Those that JoePa worked for killed him. If any of those clowns would have done the right thing JoePa would be alive today. JoePa told his boss and his boss told his boss and nobody did squat. JoePa was innocent of any crime. JoePa's mistake was trusting his bosses to do the right thing. May JoePa rest in peace and may his bosses never have peace."

The following comment references a popular sentiment among Penn State fans. There is a Facebook group named similarly.

inmyopinion8: "As the article said, if you didn't go to Penn State, you wouldn't understand. Also, you disgusting hypocrites need to shut your mouths. It's laughable how all of these so called Christians are saying it is wrong to mourn the death of Joe. All I have to say is, it doesn't matter one bit what you think, it's all about what the Big Man Upstairs thinks, and he is way more forgiving than you ... If this wasn't censored I would have a whole lot more to say to you. Absolutely disgusting."

knowthat: "That is the problem. People in the Penn State bubble don't get it, and the rest of the world does. Take away football and Penn State, and all you have is an old man who allowed children to be continued to be abused. I only cry for the victims that could have been spared had your beloved Joe done the right thing."

Some said we need to change our criteria for selecting role models. FULL POST

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