Agency: Penn State bond rating could be downgraded after saga
Steve Houck of Orlando, Fla., poses on Penn State's campus next to a statue of Joe Paterno on Friday. Mr. Houck, who drove all night Thursday to attend his first-ever game at Beaver Stadium, said Mr. Paterno "deserved a lot more than just a phone call."
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A major credit agency warns that Penn State University's bond rating could be downgraded because of risks to its reputation and finances from a child sex abuse scandal.
Moody's Investors Service said Friday it has put the university's Aa1 bond rating under review for a possible downgrade after ex-coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with molesting eight children over a 15-year period.
Moody's will assess the potential impact on Penn State of risks from possible lawsuits, a decline in students applying to attend the school, loss of donations from philanthropies and changes in its relationship with the state.
Its strong current bond rating reflects its attractiveness to prospective students, its respected academic program and status as the state flagship and land grant university. That's drawn out-of-state students paying high tuition rates.
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In the wake of the tumult, fired football coach Joe Paterno has hired a lawyer, Wick Sollers, who has told the family to make no more public statements.
Mr. Paterno's son, Scott, said, "My father is experiencing a range of powerful emotions. He is absolutely distraught over what happened to the children and their families. He also wants very much to speak publicly and answer questions. At this stage, however, he has no choice but to be patient and defer to the legal process."
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Asked during Friday's news conference if Mr. Paterno planned to attend today's game against Nebraska and if he would be welcome, President Rodney Erickson said that was Mr. Paterno's decision and that he would be welcome, as would any member of the general public.
Mr. Erickson lauded Mr. Paterno's contributions and said that at some point, the university would find a way to recognize them. However, now is not the correct time to discuss those sorts of details, he said.
He went on to offer five promises to the Penn State community and in doing so, made a pledge to reinforce to the community the "moral imperative of doing the right thing -- first time, every time ... never again should anyone at Penn State feel afraid to do the right thing."
A reporter for the Reading Eagle reported that two bricks were thrown through a front window at Jerry Sandusky's home in University Park on Friday afternoon. A student reporter for The Daily Collegian, Penn State's student newspaper, said police closed off the street to the house afterward.
First Published November 12, 2011 12:00 am