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New Penn State AD faces tough challenge

The new Penn State athletic director is hardly an outsider. David Joyner played football for Joe Paterno, and so did two of his sons. He has served on the school's Board of Trustees since 2000.

Still, Joyner said at his introductory news conference on Friday that he would do all he could to clean up the mess caused by the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

"No matter what they say about me being an insider, as you watch what I do and you watch how this university behaves, you will know and appreciate that I'm all about doing the right thing," he said.

Maybe the biggest item on Joyner's plate will be hiring a football coach. He said there is no timeline for doing so, but that he would be in charge of the hiring. That's interesting, because Joyner is only the acting athletic director right now, and it's unknown if or how long he'll continue in that role. How many football coaches will want to take on the Nittany Lions job given the current situation and also not knowing for sure who their immediate boss will be? Penn State has problems bigger than merely its football team, but with Rod Erickson named full-time president, doesn't it also make sense to hire a more permanent athletic director as well?

Joyner didn't make a lot of news in his press conference. He said he wasn't aware of the Sandusky scandal until he read about it in the media. He said he believes the Nittany Lions should participate in a bowl game. And he said there has been no talk at all about taking down the Paterno statue at Beaver Stadium.

Joyner called the athletic department "an academic unit" and promised to run it that way, with integrity and core values.

We'll see how long Joyner is actually in charge and what change he can bring about in his tenure. He has an impressive résumé and certainly understands the school and the culture of the athletic department. He needs to fix some of that culture, obviously, along with rebuilding trust and somehow keeping the football program in good shape. It's a monumental job for anyone, outsider or insider.