Penn State University would be accepted to play in Rose Bowl if the Nittany Lions earn the Big Ten Conference’s bid as they deal with a child-sex scandal involving a former coach, a top official of the college football game said.
Kevin Ash, the bowl’s chief administrative officer, said Rose Bowl officials would honor their relationships with the Big Ten and Pac 12 conferences and accept whichever teams qualified for the game, including Penn State, unless the Big Ten instructs them otherwise.
“That relationship hasn’t changed,” Ash said yesterday in a telephone interview.
David Joyner, Penn State’s acting athletic director, said at a news conference today that he believes the Nittany Lions should complete the final two games of the regular season and go to a bowl game if invited.
“My personal feeling is, no, we can move forward very respectfully, continue the season and show people how to do it the right way,” Joyner said at the university’s main campus in State College, Pennsylvania.
Penn State fired coach Joe Paterno, 84, and President Graham B. Spanier, 63, after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, 67, was charged with 40 criminal counts tied to alleged sexual molestation of eight boys from 1994 to 2009.
Athletic Director Timothy Curley, 57, and Gary Schultz, 62, a senior vice president who oversaw university police, were charged with perjury and failing to report the allegations.
Sandusky, Curley and Schultz all say they are innocent. Neither Paterno nor Spanier was charged.
Joyner said there is no timetable for picking a new coach and that “at the appropriate time, we will act expeditiously.” He said he will be involved in the selection and will remain as acting athletic director for “as long as it takes.”
Tom Bradley, another former player and assistant, is filling the head-coach position on an interim basis. Joyner said “anybody’s name is the mix who wants to apply for the job.”
Joyner also said that his experience with Paterno when he played at Penn State from 1969 to 1971 was “always positive.”
“He was a good teacher, and he taught me about life and everything,” Joyner said. “Back then, I had a great relationship with Coach Paterno, and I value my time playing football here.”
Rose Bowl officials haven’t had any conversations with the Big Ten regarding Penn State’s status for the game, Ash said. The winner of the Big Ten championship generally secures a spot in the game at Pasadena, California.
“There’s a lot of football to be played,” he said. “We need to let the regular season play out before we speculate on this topic.”
Dan Mihalik, a Big Ten football spokesman, didn’t immediately return a call or e-mail seeking comment.
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