Arts, Culture & Media

Penn State fires Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier in wake of Sandusky scandal

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Joe Paterno, the longtime football coach at Penn State University, has been fired by the Board of Trustees in the wake of the scandal surrounding his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. (Photo from Flickr user acaben, cc-by-sa.)

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Joe Paterno, the longest serving college football coach in college football, has been fired immediately by Penn State University and will not coach out the rest of the season.

Graham Spanier, the university's president, has also been removed from his position.

"We promise you we are committed to restoring public trust in our university," Penn State Board of Trustee Chairman John P. Surma said in a press conference a 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

The decision was unanimous and in the best interest of the university, the board said.

The two men were fired in a wake of a scandal that saw Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator under Paterno, charged with sexually assaulting eight young boys on the campus of Penn State.

"Right now, I'm not the football coach, and that's something I have to get used to," Paterno said outside his home Wednesday night, after the board made its announcement, according to the Associated Press and Fox Sports.

The board notified Paterno and Spanier of their immediate termination earlier this evening, but declined to characterize the conversation, other than to say they delivered it via phone.

"The situation we are in today is not in the university's best interest," Surma said.

There is some concern that violence could erupt in State College, Pa., tonight and riot police have been placed on standby.

The board said additional actions may take place this week as the board continues to meet and investigate matters. Late Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Education announced it had launched an investigation to determine whether Penn State had violated federal laws mandating officials report all crimes that occur on campus.

According to CNN, 12 additional victims have come forward and accused Sandusky of sexually assaulting them.

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