About a month after the death of Joe Paterno, the Penn State Board of Trustees defending the firing of their longest serving football coach in a statement. However, the family of Paterno still expressed their anger over their decision.
Penn State Board cited a lack of leadership on the part of Paterno after he learned about the alleged incidents involving Jerry Sandusky.
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 Board in a statement. 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 Board also cited the grand jury report received on Nov. 5 that included detailed testimony from Paterno concerning his knowledge of the allegations against Sandusky. Assistant coach Mike McQueary testified to the grand jury that he walked in on Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the locker room showers.
Our decisions were guided by our obligation as trustees, always, to put the interests of the university first, said the Board.
The Board told spent several days trying to determine the appropriate response to the fallout of Sandusky's scandal. Eventually they came to a unanimous decision to let Paterno go.
They informed him through telephone about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Because Coach Paterno's home was surrounded by media representatives, photographers and others, we did not believe there was a dignified, private and secure way to send Board representatives to meet with him there, said the statement. Nor did we believe it would be wise to wait until the next morning, since we believed it was probable that Coach Paterno would hear the news beforehand from other sources, which would be inappropriate.
Hearing the news, of Paterno's forced departure from the team, Penn State students began to riot, flipping over a media van. Riot police were called in to quell the scene.
After reading the statement, Paterno's family released a statement of their own, criticizing the Board of Trustees.
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, the family said, according to Penn Live.
The family continued to say that the tough questions that have yet to be addressed relate not to Joe Paterno, but to the board. Two months ago, the family said the Board cited moral failures for Paterno's depature. However, they are now citing leadership failures.
The question we would ask is simply this, when will the board step up and acknowledge that the ultimate responsibility for this crisis is theirs? read the statement. Everyone who cares about Penn State is longing for strong, courageous, honest leadership. Today's statement is anything but that.
Penn State alumni also took exception to the statement by the board.
The trustees have been ridiculed over how they've handled this thing, said Richard Puleo, who is seeking an alumni seat on the Board of Trustees, according to Penn Live. The alumni are fed up with the Board of Trustees. Why did they wait four months to tell us what they just told us?