Penn State president feels it was a good idea to play the game

Posted: November 12, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State interim president Rod Erickson said Saturday he felt that, despite demands to cancel or forfeit the game against Nebraska, it was a good idea to play as a way to bring attention to the victims of child sexual abuse.

Speaking immediately after the Nittany Lions' 17-14 loss to Nebraska, Erickson said he and university officials "received e-mails and other communications that suggested it was not appropriate to play today" after the child sexual abuse scandal broke a week ago.

"I personally felt that this was a time to play, but it was also a time to recognize and bring national attention to the problem of sexual abuse," he said, "and to do so in a way that reflected unity, reflected support, and reflected support to bring these issues out into the open."

He said the players from both teams and everyone involved "proved it was the right decision" to play.

Erickson said Penn State has not reached out to any candidate to replace fired head coach Joe Paterno, and that Mike McQueary's status will be "subject to further review" after the assistant coach, a key witness in the sexual abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky, was placed Friday on administrative leave.

Erickson also said that there had been no discussion on whether Penn State will accept a bowl bid but added, "From my standpoint, if our student athletes have earned the right to play in postseason play, they should certainly be allowed to do so."

The interim president said the conduct of Penn State athletes and students, both at Friday night's candlelight vigil on campus which drew an estimated crowd of 10,000, and during Saturday's game, spoke "very clearly about the character of Penn State."

"We want to demonstrate, not only to the Penn State community but to the rest of the world, that we are a caring community," he said, "that Penn State will move forward with a sense of purpose. Hopefully, there are elements of good that will come out of the situation we have found ourselves in over the past week."

Regarding other comments by Erickson:

He didn't have any information whether a new head coach or a new athletic director would be hired first.

Penn State will be "completely open and transparent" and will cooperate with any investigation related to the sexual abuse scandal.

The university is working with "some individuals" from a crisis management public relations firm hired earlier in the week.

Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or


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