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Nitt Picks is Waiting for Answers

Good morning. Hope your bracket is looking better than mine this morning. USC put a hurtin' on me, but other than that I think I'm in ok shape.

There is a very important Board of Trustees meeting going on in Washington D.C. this week, and a major topic of discussion is Joe Paterno's contract status. From the sound of things it isn't going well.

Joe Paterno's storied coaching career could end on a sour note -- if he lets it.

Two members of Penn State's Board of Trustees yesterday told the Post-Gazette that negotiations regarding a possible contract extension or succession plan for Paterno have not gone smoothly.

President Graham Spanier, who ultimately will decide whether Paterno, 81, stays or leaves when his contract expires after the 2008 season, declined to answer specific questions about Paterno's status yesterday.

"There's nothing new to report," Spanier said before the trustees' bimonthly meeting at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel. "And there are no talks set up for the foreseeable future."

Spanier reiterated there is "no timetable or deadline" for reaching a decision on Paterno's future, meaning it could drag into the start of the season in late August.

It sounds like Spanier is playing hardball. Joe wants to coach another 2-5 years, but Spanier is holding all of the cards in this one. He just got a five year extension and this decision is almost entirely up to him. He remembers how Joe let the cat out of the bag about their Sunday morning meeting at Joe's house in the fall of 2004. Sue's cookies aren't going to persuade him this time. He's not going to let the old man talk him out of what he wants to do a second time.

I've got the feeling this is going to get really ugly. This may drag into the summer. Or even next season. The only kids we're going to recruit this year are the ones that grew up with posters of Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins on their walls. The worst case scenario here is that Spanier just lets Joe play out the rest of his contract and refuses to renew it opening the door for a national search. And that would be disasterous.

But it's not all bad news today. Tyrell Sales had the charges thrown out from his incident in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Charges against a Penn State football player arrested following a St. Patrick's Day weekend celebration in Station Square were withdrawn or dismissed today.
Tyrell Alexander Sales, 22, a Butler Area High School graduate, was charged with defiant trespass and disorderly conduct after police were called Saturday night for a disturbance at Margarita Mama's.

The defiant trespass charge was withdrawn by prosecutors at a Pittsburgh Municipal Court hearing.

A magisterial district judge dismissed the disorderly conduct charge.

Apparently the Pittsburgh DA has bigger fish to fry, unlike the State College prosecutors. Hopefully this is all behind us now and Sales can go back to focusing on football.