Paterno has lung cancer, son says
Scott Paterno said in a statement provided to The Associated Press by a family representative on Friday that the 84-year-old Joe Paterno is undergoing treatment and that “his doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery.”
“As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment,” Scott Paterno said in a brief statement.
The announcement came less than an hour after Penn State said the NCAA would examine how school officials handled a child sex abuse scandal that shocked the campus and cost Paterno a job he held 46 years.
Scott Paterno said the diagnosis was made during a follow-up visit last weekend for a bronchial illness.
Paterno was fired last week in the aftermath of accusations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is charged with sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years. Critics say Paterno should have done more to stop the abuse that a state grand jury detailed in a 23-page report—in particular one assault in 2002.
Paterno initially announced his retirement effective at the end of the season. But university trustees fired him about 12 hours later, on the evening of Nov. 9.
The lurid scandal has tarnished the reputation of a coach and a football program that once prided itself on the slogan “Success with Honor.”
The Hall of Famer’s 409 career victories are a Division I record. In all, Paterno guided five teams to unbeaten, untied seasons, and won two national championships.
Meanwhile, NCAA president Mark Emmert said in the letter to Penn State president Rod Erickson that the governing body for college sports will look at “Penn State’s exercise of institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics programs.”
That once was never a question with Paterno, regarded as college football’s model for running a clean program.