A longtime member of the Penn State University Board of Trustees has resigned, saying he regrets his vote to fire Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno days after the arrest of Jerry Sandusky on child sexual abuse charges.
Alvin Clemens, who announced his resignation Friday at a Board of Trustees meeting in Hershey, said the trustees fired Paterno in haste.
"We had no advance notice and little opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake," said Clemens, reading from a statement.
"I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice."
An investigation commissioned by Penn State and led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded that Paterno and other top officials covered up allegations against Sandusky for more than a decade to avoid bad publicity.
After the report came out in 2012, the NCAA fined Penn State a record $60 million, barred the football team from postseason play for four years, temporarily cut the number of scholarships it can award, and erased 14 years of victories for Paterno, stripping him of his standing as the winningest coach in the history of big-time college football.
Clemens is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit, filed by members of the Paterno family, that seeks to overturn the landmark sanctions.
Clemens faulted the board for hiring Freeh and its "tacit acceptance of his questionable conclusions."
"In joining the Paterno family and others in their suit against the NCAA, I have distanced myself from the board on this issue,'' said Clemens, who joined the board in 1995. "I am determined to reverse all of the misguided sanctions, which were designed to punish a football program without blemish, and were aimed at student-athletes innocent of any wrongdoing."
Clemens is a gubernatorial appointee whose last term expired in 2012, but it wasn't until last month that Gov. Tom Corbett announced he planned to replace Clemens and a second board member. Corbett's nominees require confirmation by the state Senate.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence. Paterno died in January 2012.