Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Psu Trustees Shore Up Athletic Program University Struggles to Move Past Sandusky Scandal

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Psu Trustees Shore Up Athletic Program University Struggles to Move Past Sandusky Scandal

Article excerpt

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State University trustees Friday approved hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing, including $30 million to shore up athletic department finances, and cited progress on several fronts, including growth in new enrollment this fall.

But as happens each time the panel meets, reminders of a continuing divide over the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal were everywhere, from 200 protesters outside the meeting demanding that the board resign, to an alum and former football player who rose inside and told trustees "it appears you answer to no one."

Displeasure with the board's handling of the scandal and its decision to fire storied football coach Joe Paterno reverberated, even as trustees received updates on scores of reforms instituted in the scandal's aftermath.

"We are not giving up," former Steelers star Franco Harris, who played under Mr. Paterno while at Penn State, told protesters who like himself say Mr. Paterno was wrongly accused of helping to cover up child abuse by Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach now in prison.

Inside the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, board members already briefed on a $2.7 billion capital plan through 2018 authorized issuance of $750 million in debt, including $225 million for education and general projects and $525 million for self- supporting unit projects.

Among the borrowing is $30 million for athletics, which of late is facing financial pressure for various reasons, including the $60 million NCAA fine, lost bowl revenue, lower football ticket sales in 2012 and addition of two varsity hockey programs, officials said.

Also Friday, the board approved a state appropriation request for 2014-15 of $299.7 million, a 5 percent increase. If it is approved in full, Penn State president Rodney Erickson said he expects tuition next year to increase 2. …

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