Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Penn State's Board of Trustees... (11:58 UPDATE)

11:58 p.m. EST: If you can divorce yourself from whatever emotion you are feeling, then please consider the following ideas:
1. If I had told you one month ago that Joe Paterno was going to be fired this season, imagine your reaction to that
2. I'd really like to see a huge rally/show of support among Penn State students in support of the then-young boys who say they were sexually assaulted by a man who based on what we know right now deserves to be called a pervert.

11:25 p.m. EST: At moments such as this -- when emotions are at their peak -- decisions often are ruled by feelings. Thus watching the demonstration of support for former head coach Joe Paterno (coming largely from the Penn State students) and the vitriol being directed at him on social media (largely on Twitter) offer nothing substantive.

Do not misunderstand me -- within the bounds of what is legal, these individuals have every right to make their opinions known. However, those feelings that attract media attention serve as as yet another distraction since this sexual assault scandal began over the weekend. And they are a by-product of a stunning demonstration of silence by multiple leaders of the university.

It remains baffling that no one -- not the president, the football coach or anyone else -- spoke out in the past few days to explain why evidence of multiple sexual assaults were not properly addressed. Why, for example, did Paterno never approach Jerry Sandusky and ask him if the growing number of reports that he was behaving in a disgusting way were true? Likewise, why did the university president never demand that a thorough internal investigation take place?

And, yes, why did no one ever call the police?

There will be significant discussion in the coming days as to whether the football coach should have been dismissed as he was. (There also is a fascinating conversation that the football coach is getting far more attention than the university president.) As that conversation takes place, the people who were either horribly naive or blatantly blind to reality might never answer those questions.

10:45 p.m. EST: 
Consider more closely how John Surma described the dismissal of Joe Paterno:
1. He never provided a substantive reason for why the coach was axed now
2. He acknowledged that because it would have been more difficult (and those were not his exact words) to attempt to track down Paterno than it would have been to pick up the phone. So, the easy way was taken -- a phone call was made.
3. As mentioned below, there was no statement made by Surma to offer any deep, rich and genuine appreciation for the many years of service Paterno gave to the university.

10:35 p.m. EST: A few thoughts:
1. The board seems unable to provide a firm explanation regarding why Paterno was dismissed
2. The number of questions about Paterno and the few about Spanier tell you what this story is about.
3. The decision by Mr. Surma to say nothing positive about the legacy of Joe Paterno indicates that there might have been little regard for the coach.
4. This press conference was the first time since the scandal broke on Saturday that the university offered a strong, firm statement about it. 
5. Yes, cutting the cord with Paterno now is the right thing to do, but it also offers hints that the Board of Trustees is following the adage about the cover up and the crime. 
6. Paterno is sure to address the media tomorrow; I cannot imagine him hiding behind the closed doors of his home.

10:33 p.m. EST: Surma: "I have absolutely no knowledge" of any Board-driven conspiracy that sought Paterno's ouster for years.

10:32 p.m. EST: Surma quickly dismisses any chance to make a positive statement about Paterno.

10:29 p.m. EST: Surma refuses to discuss how Paterno reacted when he was called and told he had been fired.

10:26 p.m. EST: Surma: "I think in the long run, we have done the right thing" in dismissing Paterno.

10:22 p.m. EST: Trustee Surma confirms that university did not rush to judgment but will conduct full investigation. When asked if there is additional information about Paterno's actions that warranted his immediate dismissal, Surma said there information currently available was enough to justify the action.

10:21 p.m. EST: Trustee Surma: I would hope that our students and everyone who cares about Penn State...would agree that what we are doing is in our judgement in the best interests of the university and larger than any athletic program.

10:18 p.m. EST: University's provost will hold interim president position.

10:17 p.m. EST: Trustee Surma: "It was the unanimous view of the trustees that this was in the long-term interests of the university."

10:15 p.m. EST: John Surma, vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees : "It was the trustees view that it was on the long-term interests of the university" to make the head coaching change now.

10:14 p.m. EST: PSU Board of Trustees has confirmed that Paterno is OUT

10:11 p.m. EST: State College News tweets -- We have confirmation: Paterno is done. Now.

10:04 p.m. EST: Multiple tweets from different news organizations also suggesting that Paterno has been told he can no longer be head coach and that Spanier has submitted his resignation.

10:00 p.m. EST: NBC10 in Philadelphia is reporting that Paterno is out IMMEDIATELY and Spanier submitted his resignation a short time ago. Here is the tweet from Colin Macaulay: The NBC10 Sports dept hearing that Paterno is out for good. Tom Bradley will be interim coach. Riot police outside of JoePa's house.

9:55 p.m. EST: Prediction: Penn State president Graham Spanier's resignation will be announced; head coach Joe Paterno will be allowed to coach Saturday's game -- the final home game of the season -- and then be out.

ORIGINAL POST: ...called a 10:00 p.m. EST press conference. Live blogging to follow.

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