STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) – Penn State’s Board of Trustees is planning a special committee to not only investigate the allegations of sexual abuse against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, but also the alleged cover-up by school officials. This comes amid reports of eroding support for University President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno.
After Penn State officials cancelled Coach Paterno’s weekly press conference Tuesday, rumors began swirling that he was being forced out in weeks or even days.
Paterno’s son Scott, an attorney, says those reports are premature and he took to Twitter with the potential of Paterno holding a news conference off campus outside of university control.
That was also called off, but with about 100 students gathered on his lawn, Paterno did give a quick statement, thanking them for their support.
“It’s hard for me to tell you how much this means to me,” Paterno told the crowd. “I live for this place, I live for people like you guys and girls. And I’m just so happy you feel so strongly about us and our school.”
Those rallies continued across campus, gaining momentum, with hundreds joining in.
Penn State’s Board of Trustees met by teleconference Tuesday night, and they plan to meet again Wednesday. The board says it is creating a special committee to investigate the allegations.
Meanwhile, former homeland security director and former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge’s name has surfaced as a reported possible replacement for Spanier.
Also, current Governor Tom Corbett may have something to say in the coming days about the Penn State scandal and a key state senator from the Philadelphia region is already questioning the future of the university’s president.
Corbett’s spokesman Kevin Harley says the governor plans to attend Friday’s board meeting. But he also says the governor had planned to attend the meeting before the sex abuse scandal broke. Harley says Corbett will likely have something to say soon about the scandal, but is in a unique situation because he started the probe of Jerry Sandusky and directed it for two years.
“He’s still bound by the rules of criminal procedure on what he can say because he was the prosecutor that directed this investigation up until the time he became governor.”
Meanwhile, Chester Republican Dominic Pileggi, the state Senate majority leader, told the Associated Press that he believes Spanier’s job should be on the line unless he can explain why school officials didn’t report the alleged sex abuse sooner.
Reported by Jim Melwert and Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060