Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Nittany Lions tailback remains suspended by Paterno
ESPN.com news services
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Tuesday there was no change in status of running back Austin Scott, who will remain suspended for Saturday's game against No. 19 Wisconsin.
Scott, a senior, was suspended the day before last Saturday's win over Iowa for violating a team rule. Officially, he is listed as the Nittany Lions' third-string tailback for the Wisconsin game. Paterno declined to say what rule Scott had broken.
There was no formal investigation into Scott by the university's
judicial affairs office, according to two school officials. Scott
is still enrolled at Penn State, university vice president Bill Mahon said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Paterno said Tuesday he
was looking into the possibility that some Nittany Lions may have
been involved in a fight.
The fight comes months after Paterno, angry about an April fight
involving football players, decided to force the entire team to
pick up garbage the day after games at Beaver Stadium.
"I've been alerted there might have been a couple football
players involved in a fight. To what extent, to what degree, what
happened, I'm not quite sure yet," Paterno said when asked whether
players were involved in a weekend altercation.
"Until I find out what's going on, I think I'd be better off
just not getting into that," said Paterno, who then refused to continue discussing any off-the-field matters involving players.
Tyrone Parham, the assistant university police director,
declined to comment on whether any football players were under
investigation for any weekend incidents.
"We can't confirm anyone's affiliation with Penn State,"
Parham said. "We don't confirm anything until a person is
A university police log listed an investigation into an alleged
"simple assault/harassment/disorderly conduct" case after being
called at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, nearly seven hours after Penn State
(4-2) defeated Iowa. One person suffered a bloody nose and was
treated at the scene, Parham said.
University police were handling that investigation in normal
fashion, Mahon said.
Paterno grew agitated after being peppered with questions about
off-field concerns. Asked if he was concerned about the image of
the program, JoePa immediately said, "No. I don't think there's
anything wrong with the image of the program. We have a bunch of
Paterno said "85 to 90 percent" of his players graduate.
"Eighty-five to 90 percent of them are great people. I have no
problem with that," he said. "Again, you guys are trying to
create some problem that I don't believe we have, period. ... It's
a waste of my time and your time."
A 2006 NCAA report said Penn State's football graduation rate of
83 percent was seventh-best among the 119 Football Bowl Division
institutions, and the best in the Big Ten.
Also this weekend, two reserve freshmen -- punter Ryan Breen and
tailback Joe Suhey -- were cited by police for underage drinking.
Neither has seen game action this season.
"I'd like to know anybody in this room, when they were in
college, who weren't sitting around in a party where underage
drinking wasn't going on," Paterno said. "I'm not condoning it or
anything like that, but you always have to be a little bit careful
in evaluating what kids do, in relationship to what their
obligation is to their football team and themselves."
Tight end Andrew Quarless and backup defensive back Willie
Harriott had been suspended by Paterno for a few games earlier this
year after university police cited them for underage drinking.
"Can we talk about Wisconsin?" Paterno asked, interrupting a
reporter when the news conference opened with questions about
off-field issues. "We're fine. Let me handle the football team and
as soon as I know enough to make some decisions, I'll make them and
that'll be it."
The rash of legal woes comes about six months after authorities
said several players were involved in a fight at an off-campus
party in which two people were hurt and treated at a hospital. Ten
players were disciplined by the university for their roles in the
April 1 altercation.
Two of the players, safety Anthony Scirrotto and defensive
lineman Chris Baker, are scheduled to stand trial in December on
related criminal charges.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.