Son says the former coach has minor complications from cancer treatments
The family hopes for a brief hospitalization, son says
Joe Paterno was diagnosed with treatable lung cancer last year
He was fired over handling of child sex abuse allegations against former coach
Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno has been hospitalized for minor complications from his ongoing cancer treatments, his son told CNN Friday.
The family hopes his hospitalization is brief, Scott Paterno said.
Paterno has a treatable form of lung cancer, the family previously said. A month ago, he was admitted to a hospital after fracturing his pelvis when he slipped and fell at his home.
Paterno, the all-time winningest football coach in NCAA Division I history, was fired in November amid the outcry over the handling of the child sexual abuse claims involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
School President Rodney Erickson on Thursday night tried to distance the school from the scandal that has rocked the campus.
“It grieves me very much when I hear people say ‘the Penn State scandal.’ This is not Penn State. This is the Sandusky scandal,” Erickson told angry alumni.
The town hall meeting in a hotel in suburban Philadelphia came the same day the university revealed it is paying Paterno as if he had retired at the end of the season.
Most of the questions at the meeting revolved around the coach’s firing. Crowds booed Erickson several times.
In a statement earlier Thursday, the chairman and vice chairman of the board of trustees said Paterno was removed as head football coach because he “could not be expected to continue to effectively perform his duties” amid an investigation of the charges against Sandusky.
“Coach Paterno remains employed by the university as a tenured faculty member,” said the statement by Chairman Steve Garban and Vice Chairman John Surma. “The details of his retirement are being worked out and will be made public when they are finalized. Generally speaking, the university intends to honor the terms of his employment contract and is treating him financially as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 football season.”
Some university students, former players for the Nittany Lions and others were angered by the removal of Paterno, 85, who guided the team for 46 years. Student protesters overturned a news van and vandalized streets around the campus before police dispersed them.
State College was rocked by accusations that Sandusky had abused young boys over 14 years and that school officials failed to take the complaints to police.
University trustees dismissed Paterno and school President Graham Spanier after a grand jury report accused Sandusky of more than 50 counts of sexually abusing boys. Sandusky has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A Penn State graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, told the grand jury late last year that he had seen Sandusky “with a boy in the shower and that it was severe sexual acts going on and that it was wrong and over the line.” He said he had gone to Paterno with what he saw.
Paterno said he’d never been told the graphic details revealed in a grand jury report, but that he nevertheless passed the allegations on to his boss. After first saying he had done “what I was supposed to do,” Paterno said that “with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
It was years before law enforcement learned about the allegation.