Report: PSU President could be out by today

Penn State president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, who resigned Nov. 9, 2011.
Penn State president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, who resigned Nov. 9, 2011. (GENE PUSKAR / Associated Press)
Posted: November 09, 2011

It's apparent pressure is growing on Penn State to end Graham Spanier's tenure as president in wake of the sex abuse scandal engulfing the university.

One newspaper, citing an anonymous source, is reporting that Spanier will, "either resign or be voted out by the end of today."

The source, said to be close to the university's board of trustees, told The Express-Times that Spanier will be likely replaced by an interim president.

The most likely candidate is Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney A. Erickson. The paper said the university will then begin a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.

The report comes on the heels of an earlier ESPN report today that Tom Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor, is being eyed as a possible replacement for Spanier.

ESPN reported that a source close to "the situation" at the university said the board of trustees was looking at Ridge.

Spanier has lost support since the scandal broke Saturday involving at least eight sex abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator for the football team, faces charges he sexually assaulted eight boys over a 15-year period, between 1994 and 2009.

Among the allegations is a 2002 incident in which a graduate assistant for the team says he saw Sandusky sexually assault a young boy at the practice center.

The scandal has rocked the storied football program and university.

Head Coach Joe Paterno has already announced he will retire at the end of the season. And two school officials have already been ousted.

Indeed, a top state lawmaker is calling for Spanier to lose his job unless he offers a clear explanation as to why university officials didn't report the 2002 allegation of child sexual abuse to law enforcement.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said serious questions need to be answered, and there should be a change in Penn State's leadership if there are no good answers.

The trustees are reportedly appointing a special committee to investigate the allegations about Sandusky and the university's handling of the matter.

The committee will examine "what failures occurred and who is responsible," according to a statement issued by the board. The board also promised that those responsible would be held "fully accountable."

Top school officials say they weren't told about the seriousness of the 2002 matter. Coach Joe Paterno told a grand jury he relayed information about the incident to Athletic Director Tim Curley.

Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with failing to notify authorities after an eyewitness reported that specific assault.

Sandusky spent three decades on the Penn State staff before retiring in 1999. He ran a charity for youth at the campus known as Second Mile.

A grand jury presentment said Sandusky used the charity to find victims.

The 67-year-old's next hearing, initially scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed and has not been rescheduled.

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