* Paterno, 84, was coach at Penn State for 46 years
* Former assistant coach accused of sexually abusing boys
* "I wish I had done more" on learning of abuse - Paterno
* Fate of university president could be decided soon
By Ian Simpson
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov 9 A child sexual abuse
scandal brought down one of the most iconic names in American
sports on Wednesday as Penn State University football coach Joe
Paterno said he would retire amid criticism he did not do
enough to stop the alleged crimes by a former assistant coach.
The situation was a tragedy and "one of the great sorrows
of my life," Paterno, 84, said in a statement, adding he would
retire at the end of this season.
"With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more,"
Paterno said of his actions years ago after learning of the
allegations about long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky, 67, is accused of sexually abusing at least eight
boys over more than a decade. Two other university officials
have been charged with not reporting an incident in 2002 when
Sandusky allegedly was seen sexually assaulting a child.
Lawyers for all three men have said they deny the charges
and maintain their innocence.
Graham Spanier, Penn State's president for 16 years and a
family therapist by training, would be the next to go, local
media said. The Express-Times newspaper, citing a source close
to the university's board of trustees, said Spanier would
either resign or be voted out by the end of the day.
The trustees will meet in emergency session on Wednesday
evening to discuss how to respond to the scandal, said Tom
Poole, Penn State's vice president for administration.
Spanier remains university president for now, he said.
The charges against Sandusky, a former defensive
coordinator, and accusations the abuse was covered up for years
by school officials have shaken the university and its football
A local artist painted over the image of Sandusky sitting
next to Paterno on the "Inspiration" mural he created on campus
in 2001 to honor people he admired. Michael Pilato, who said he
got hundreds of e-mails asking him to remove Sandusky, left an
empty chair and a blue ribbon to honor the alleged victims.
"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this
case," Paterno said. "I grieve for the children and their
families, and I pray for their comfort and relief."
Paterno, in his 46th year as head coach of the Nittany
Lions and winner of two national championships, has been
criticized for not doing more to intervene when incidents of
Sandusky's abuse came to light in 2002.
Sandusky allegedly recruited his victims from "The Second
Mile," a charity he founded to help troubled children, and
subjected them to a pattern of escalating abuse. A preliminary
hearing originally set for Wednesday was postponed to Dec. 7.
Former athletic director Tim Curley and former finance
official Gary Schultz were charged on Monday with failing to
alert police after they were told Sandusky was seen sodomizing
a young boy in the locker room showers in 2002. They were also
charged with perjury in their statements to a grand jury.
College football is hugely popular in the United States,
drawing massive television audiences every Saturday in the late
summer and fall and filling huge stadiums.
Teams generate million of dollars in revenue and successful
ones raise the profile of their universities. That, in turn,
helps fundraising -- such as the $2 billion capital campaign
now under way at Penn State.
Paterno held a short meeting with coaching staff and
players on Wednesday, which participants described as tearful
and highly emotional.
Many students have rallied around Paterno, who with his
thick, black-rimmed glasses and blue windbreaker has been the
face of Penn State football for generations.
"This has to be the saddest day of the school year," said
Chloe DeOnna, 18. One woman wearing a Penn State T-shirt left
flowers at Paterno's front door.
Several thousand students rallied in front of his home on
Tuesday night before racing through downtown streets, chanting
football slogans, to the white-columned administration building
to support the famed coach and defend the university.
Paterno's resignation sets up high drama on Saturday, when
Penn State will take an 8-1 record into its final home game of
the season against the University of Nebraska.
It was always likely to be the last game in 106,000-seat
Beaver Stadium for Paterno, who is in the last year of his
contract and has become more frail in recent years.
Under Paterno, Penn State has won 409 games, a record for a
coach in major college football. He set the record when the
Nittany Lions beat the University of Illinois on Oct. 29, just
days before Sandusky was charged on Nov. 5.
At "Paternoville," the tent city set up outside Beaver
Stadium before each home game, fans were resolute.
"We remember the victims but aren't turning our backs on
the players," said a post on Paternoville's Twitter feed.
Still, the scandal has cast a pall over much of the
sprawling campus of about 45,000 students in State College in
central Pennsylvania, the flagship of about two dozen Penn
State campuses across the state.
"This has just been devastating for business," said Terry
Losch, owner of Rapid Transit Sporting Goods just off campus,
which sells Penn State merchandise.
Tom Corbett, the governor of Pennsylvania, said it was
"unfortunate that (Paterno's) retirement is taking place under
the cloud that is going on.
"It is a sad day, It's been a sad day for a number of
days," he told reporters in the state capital, Harrisburg.
Corbett, an ex-officio member of Penn State's board, was
also the state's attorney general when authorities started to
Corbett would not discuss the case, saying only that "he
who preys on a child is the worst person in the world."
Penn State's trustees voted on Tuesday to name a special
committee to determine any failures over Sandusky's alleged
crimes and officials' response, saying they were "outraged by
the horrifying details contained in the grand jury report."
That report detailed alleged sexual assaults of eight boys
by Sandusky over 15 years -- during his time as a Penn State
coach and after his retirement in 1999.
A ninth potential victim, now in his 20s, has since come
forward and Pennsylvania police have set up a hotline to call.
"The Second Mile" charity moved quickly to disassociate
itself from Sandusky, who on Tuesday was also ordered not to
spend time with his grandchildren without supervision.