(AP, ABC7) — Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has decided to retire at the end of the season, his long career brought down by his failure to do more about an allegation of child sex abuse against a former assistant.
Paterno said in a statement Wednesday he is "absolutely devastated" by the developments in the case of Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator accused of molesting eight boys over 15 years.
Paterno says the board of trustees should "not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address."
"This is a tragedy," Paterno says. "It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."
Also, the Express-Times reports that Penn State President Graham Spanier will quit or be fired in the wake of the Sandusky sex abuse case.
Paterno, who earns about $1 million annually from the school, has been head coach for 46 years and part of the Penn State staff for more than six decades, and his old-school values pervade every corner of the program.
Over that span, the Nittany Lions won two national championships, but unlike many other Division I powerhouses, the program avoided run-ins with the NCAA. The team generates millions of dollars each year in revenues from attendance, TV rights and sponsorships, but it has stubbornly stuck with the basic white-and-blue uniforms that are now among the most recognizable in college football.
Much of the criticism surrounding Paterno has concerned his apparent failure to follow up on a report of the 2002 incident, in which Sandusky allegedly sodomized a 10-year-old boy in the showers at the team's football complex. The eyewitness, Mike McQueary, is currently receivers coach for the team but was a graduate assistant at the time.
McQueary told Paterno about the incident the next day, and the coach notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and the vice president, Glenn Schultz, who in turn notified Spanier. Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report the incident to authorities, as required by state law.
Both men, as well as Paterno, testified that they were told that Sandusky behaved inappropriately in that 2002 incident, but not to the extent of McQueary's graphic account to a state grand jury.
The same grand jury decided the testimony from Curley and Schultz, whose job at the time also gave him oversight of the campus police, were not believable. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno is not a target of the investigation, although the state police commissioner has chastised him and other Penn State officials for not doing enough to try to stop the suspected abuse.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education announced it would begin an investigation into the school's handling of the abuse allegations.
Sandusky, 67, spent three decades on the Penn State staff before retiring in 1999, but continued to use school and athletic facilities - where prosecutors allege he molested several of the boys - as recently as two weeks ago. He often held football camps for youths on PSU satellite campuses and maintained an office at the Nittany Lions' complex on the main campus.
Sandusky began working with at-risk youths after founding The Second Mile charity in 1977. It now raises and spends several million dollars each year for its programs. According to Internal Revenue Service documents, the foundation last paid Sandusky in 2007, when he received $57,000 as a consultant. He publicly severed ties in 2010.
Paterno is listed on The Second Mile's website as a current member of its honorary board of directors, a group that includes business executives, golfing great Arnold Palmer and several NFL Hall of Famers and coaches, including retired Pittsburgh Steelers stars Jack Ham and Franco Harris.
Authorities have said that Paterno is not a target of the investigation.