STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBSMiami.com) – Emotions continued to run high in Happy Valley Thursday just hours after legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired by the school amidst a child rape scandal involving the football team and athletic department.
Paterno, whose last national championship came after a victory in 1986 over the Miami Hurricanes, will not be on the sidelines Saturday when the Nittany Lions play Nebraska. Paterno was going to tie Amos Alonzo Stagg’s record for games coached on Saturday.
His firing Wednesday night shocked some students on the Penn State campus, but was expected by almost every observer.
Some students chose to march in demonstrations on the campus, while other people were still stunned over the fall of a coaching icon.
Thursday, school officials named defensive coordinator Tom Bradley the school’s interim head coach. Bradley takes over for a fallen legend and has to get the team ready for Nebraska, despite the countless distractions this week.
“We’re obviously in a very unprecedented situation,” Bradley told the media Thursday. “I have to find a way to restore the confidence. It’s with very mixed emotions and heavy hearts that we go through this.”
Part of Bradley’s challenge will be to determine which coaches will be on the sidelines. Paterno’s son, Jay, is the team’s quarterback coach and will remain on staff.
In the strangest turn of events, wide receivers coach Mike McQueary will coach, but may not be on the sideline.
McQueary has been identified as the graduate assistant who saw former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky raping a child in the showers at the school.
McQueary didn’t call police or try to stop the rape. He only told Paterno of what he saw and Paterno told his superior. McQueary will remain a paid employee for doing the same thing Paterno did by simply telling his superior.
McQueary’s case may be even more troublesome for the Nittany Lions. The school fired Paterno and other staff members to show that the school acted decisively as soon as the scope of the crimes were revealed.
But, by allowing McQueary to stay on staff; it could open more problems on the civil front because the school didn’t eliminate everyone involved in the child rape scandal, according to CBS News.
Bradley was asked about the discrepancy by CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel, but according to Doyel, Bradley ducked the question possibly because he simply didn’t know why.
While the school continues to go through the transition and tries to rebuild its image as a quality institution of higher learning; there is also a threat of possible NCAA action as well.
But, the NCAA action may or may not come. NCAA president Mark Emmert said they would monitor the case through the courts, but defer to law enforcement in the short-term over the crimes.
“As the facts are established through the justice system, we will determine whether Association bylaws have been violated and act accordingly,” Emmert wrote Thursday. “To be clear, civil and criminal law will always take precedence over Association rules.”