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Penn State Scandal: Last Night in Happy Valley

Joe Paterno, Board of Trustees

Here’s a timeline and link dump covering all the activity that took place in State College, Pennsylvania, late Wednesday night. We’ll update throughout the day if the story continues to develop.

    • At about 10:15 p.m. EST last night, the Penn State Board of Trustees announced that head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier had both been fired. This ended Paterno’s 61 62-year professional association with the university. Earlier on Wednesday, the 84-year-old coach said he would retire from the position he had held since 1966 at the end of the season.
    • The official statement from the Board of Trustees, naming Dr. Rodney A. Erickson, executive vice president and provost, as the interim president of the university and assistant coach Tom Bradley as interim head coach, can be read here.
    • Graham Spanier had served as Penn State’s president for 16 years. In a statement, Spanier said, “I have always acted honorably and in the best interests of the University, the buck stops here.” The full statement can be read here.
    • An often volatile press conference was handled by John Surma, vice chairman of the Penn State Board of Trustees. Surma also serves as the chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel.
    • Soon after the press conference, Paterno made an appearance outside of his home, reportedly saying, “Right now I’m not the coach. And after 61 years I have to get used to that.” He later told students gathered outside his house, “You guys are great.”
  • Following the announcement, thousands of Penn State students took to the streets to protest the Board of Trustees’ decision.
  • Newspapers in Pennsylvania and from around the country led with the Paterno story this morning. The Patriot-News, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Reading Eagle all had iconic front pages capturing last night’s sad drama.
  • To read the grand jury indictment of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, click here. Be warned that it is not easy reading.
  • Grantland’s Michael Weinreb grew up in Happy Valley and wrote about the Penn State scandal, his childhood, and his college years at the university. You can read that here.
  • There are several reporters, both national and local, doing great work in Happy Valley. To get on-the-ground updates, we suggest you follow Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) of BlackShoeDiaries, Kevin McGuire (@PSUExaminer) of the PSU Examiner, and Sara Ganim (@sganim) of the Harrisburg Patriot-News. For some player perspective, you can follow quarterback Mike Matt McGloin (@macqb11).
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Kate Fagan has an excellent piece up about her time as a basketball player at the University of Colorado. During her time there, the school went through a recruiting scandal and Fagan writes beautifully about what happens to a college campus in a time of crisis.