Joe Paterno’s tenure as coach of the Penn State football team will soon be over, perhaps within days or weeks, in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated university officials, according to two people briefed on conversations among the university’s top officials.
The board of trustees has yet to determine the precise timing of Mr. Paterno’s exit, but it is clear that the man who has more victories than any other coach at college football’s top level and who made Penn State a prestigious national brand will not survive to coach another season. Discussions about how to manage his departure have begun, according to the two people.
Mr. Paterno was to have held a news conference Tuesday but the university canceled it less than an hour before it was scheduled to start.
Mr. Paterno’s day-to-day status with the program could be affected by the attorney general’s investigation. In explaining his actions, Mr. Paterno has publicly said he was not told of the graphic nature of an alleged 2002 assault by the assistant coach Jerry Sandusky of a young boy in the football building’s showers. He said the graduate assistant coach who reported the assault, Mike McQueary, said only that something disturbing had happened that was perhaps sexual in nature.