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The same month Joe Paterno found himself embroiled in the investigation of longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandunsky, he began to renegotiate his contract, reports the New York Times. It was January 2011 but the contract wasn’t set to expire until the end of 2012. Still, by August Paterno and the university president reached a deal that the coach would get a $3 million bonus if he made 2011 his last season. At that time, both men were deeply involved in the Sandunsky scandal.
When the university board of trustees got wind of the deal in November, a brief debate on whether the payout should move forward was quickly shut down and in the end gave Paterno pretty much received everything he wanted as part of a $5.5-million package. The fact that Paterno’s wife managed to get the use of “specialized hydrotherapy massage equipment” as part of that package illustrates just how much power Paterno had over the university and its officials.
The revelation merely marks the latest embarrassment for Penn State following the release of the Freeh report, the independent investigation that show Paterno officials put boys in danger by failing to report sexual abuse allegations against Sandunsky. Now the university, as well as alumni and football fans in general, are taking part in a tense debate over what to do with the iconic 7-foot statue of Paterno that is one of Penn State’s best-known landmarks, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Paterno’s family is busy defending the late coach’s legacy, with this son emphasizing that the Freeh report should not be seen as a legal document and the facts haven’t been fully revealed. Still, if Paterno were alive today (he died in January of lung cancer), he would likely be facing a battery of charges, including child endangerment, perjury, and conspiracy, reports the Associated Press.