Joe Paterno, the longtime football coach at Penn State, reached a deal with Graham B. Spanier, then the university’s president, to amend his contract last summer, The New York Times reported today. By that time, the Times points out, both Mr. Spanier and Mr. Paterno had testified before a grand jury investigating Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach, for sexually assaulting young boys.
Under the new contract, if Mr. Paterno agreed 2011 would be his last year as coach, he was to be paid $3-million and the university would forgive $350,000 in interest-free loans he had gotten over the years. He also would get to use a Penn State airplane and a luxury box at the football stadium for his family for the next 25 years. The Times reports that the full Board of Trustees did not know about the deal until November, when Mr. Sandusky was arrested.
After the scandal erupted and both Mr. Paterno and Mr. Spanier were fired, some board members wanted to nullify the contract or reduce the payout, according to the Times’s sources. But others worried about facing more outrage if they took away money owed to Mr. Paterno, who died in January. They sought a deal with the family to avoid a threatened defamation lawsuit, but the family refused. Nevertheless, the board agreed to abide by the contract and in April paid the remaining money owed to the Paternos.