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Tampa Bay area alumni cringe at Penn State report

5:34 PM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
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Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno
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TAMPA, Florida -- Lifelong Penn State football fan Shawn Miller, who grew up 30 minutes from campus, says Thursday is a day he's feared for months.

"A lot of victims could have been saved," Miller said.

For him it's hard to accept that Joe Paterno, the guy's he idolized, could be part of such a culture of coverup the Freeh report released Thursday illustrates.

"Even through the whole trial and everything I still had a ton of respect for Joe Paterno and I lost a little bit more," Miller said of reading the report.

Even after the story first broke several months, some graduates and alumni tried to defend Paterno, but many are having a much harder time doing that now.

Miller concedes part of the coach's legacy is lost.

"It definitely tarnishes it more than it already has been.  I mean I can see Penn State wanting to separate themselves a little bit more him now," he said.

1977 Penn State graduate Bill Weary struggles to understand how Paterno could let so many things go.

"It hurts.  It really hurts," he said, "it raises the question about why didn't he do more?"

That's a question no one will ever be able to answer at this point. But Weary has no plans to take down a poster of Paterno that hangs in his house.

"I think the positives outweigh the negatives, although this is a significant failure," he said.

The Tampa resident had no reservations about putting on a Penn State golf shirt Thursday.

"Today I'm proud to be an alum," he said.

This fiscal year Penn State University has received the second highest amount of donations in school history.

Weary views that as an indication of the support the university still has and he says it's important that type of rally together mentality continues.

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