In the wake of the horrible and graphic charges of pedophilia and sexual misconduct brought against longtime Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky this weekend, Penn State's legendary coach Joe Paterno announced today that he will be retiring at the end of the football season. The decision might not be his to make though, as the Penn State Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the rapidly metastasizing scandal.
Late yesterday the Board released a statement saying it was "outraged by the horrifying details" in the grand jury report and would be undertaking a "full and complete" investigation. Of course, if you read the report [PDF] it can be hard to tell what such an investigation would look like. Sandusky is accused of doing some despicable things to young boys over at least the past ten years while the University looked the other way.
Here's the statement that Paterno put out today:
I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.
I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.
That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this university.
Former Penn State defensive tackle Matt Millen, who played under Paterno and Sandusky in the 1970s, broke down on ESPN last night while discussing the scandal, "It makes you sick to see that this could happen to this level, if in fact it has happened, you know there is a part of me like I mentioned earlier, you just want to go take care of it yourself. Which is what I have always done and which is the wrong thing to do. But this is more than just a program.This is more than a football legacy. This is about people. And if we can't protect our kids, we as a society are pathetic. So, that is where I stand on it."
Update: At 10 p.m., the Penn State Board of Trustees announced that university president Graham Spanier was resigning and that Paterno would be relieved of his coaching duties (as in fired) effective immediately.