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Many hurdles ahead at PSU as new era starts

February 16. 2013 9:44PM

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STATE COLLEGE — Penn State's first football game of the season was a milestone for the university as it struggles to move past the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Fallout from the case will remain a major challenge for the university for years to come, starting when the national spotlight returns as Sandusky is sentenced.

The criminal case in which two university administrators faces charges they did not report suspected child abuse and then lied to the grand jury about it, recently had jury selection set for Jan. 7.

The attorney general's office has said a grand jury investigation remains active, and could produce other charges.

Two people have sued Penn State, a third has filed court paperwork indicating a civil complaint is being prepared, and several other lawyers have indicated they represent potential litigants. Penn State has signaled its interest in settling claims with Sandusky's victims, but no one knows how long the civil side will take to play itself out.

The decisions made by Penn State trustees have generated considerable animosity and the board faces a lot of work in mending fences.

So far the school's fundraising apparatus has not suffered, but some major donors are clearly upset at how former football coach Joe Paterno was treated, and by acquiescence to the NCAA sanctions. If they start to pull their support, that could do more to change the direction of the institution than anything else.

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