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Penn State says it will not renew athletic director’s contract

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 9:27 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania State University will not renew the contract of embattled Athletic Director Tim Curley when it expires in June, the college announced Tuesday.

Curley, who was placed on leave after his arrest on charges connected to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, was notified this month of his impending dismissal, a university spokesman said. But Penn State will continue to pay his legal bills, as his case stems from decisions made in his official capacity at the school.

A spokeswoman for Curley’s attorney, Caroline Roberto, declined to comment Tuesday.

Curley, 58, and Gary Schultz, the former university vice president, face trial in January on charges of perjury and failing to report child abuse. The case arises from allegations that they neglected to alert authorities to early reports of Sandusky’s inappropriate contact with children and then later lied about it to a grand jury.

Schultz retired within days of his November arrest. Both men have entered not guilty pleas.

A former Penn State football player and recruiting coordinator, Curley was appointed athletic director in 1993. But he had long been a member of former head football coach Joe Paterno’s inner circle. In recent years, his attorney and family have said, he has battled lung cancer.

Since his suspension, Curley’s role has been filled by former Penn State trustee David Joyner, who is expected to remain in the post through the term of current university President Rodney Erickson.

Erickson announced this year that he had no plans to continue in his post past his current contract, which ends in 2014.

The university’s decision regarding Curley’s future came the same day that credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Penn State’s outlook from stable to poor, citing concerns over its potential civil liability in the wake of the Sandusky case. However, the agency noted, the university’s long-term bond rating remains strong.

Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was sentenced last week to a minimum of 30 years in prison for the serial molestation of 10 adolescent boys. He met all of his victims through the Second Mile, a charity for underprivileged youth he founded, and he abused many of them on Penn State’s campus.

According to a university-sponsored internal investigation, Curley, Schultz and other top administrators including Paterno and ex-university President Graham B. Spanier ignored warning signs of Sandusky’s behavior as early as 1998.

And at least four of the former assistant coach’s accusers have sued the university for negligence. Sixteen others have entered into preliminary settlement negotiations with the university over their abuse claims, the university’s appointed negotiator, Michael Rozen, said last week.

Rozen noted that he had not begun to closely examine any of those claims.

Standard and Poor’s move Tuesday came after another rating agency, Moody’s Investor Services, signaled in July that it was considering downgrading Penn State’s rating.

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