The news of Paterno's news conference cancellation came shortly after Spanier announced that he was backing out of an honorary dinner on Wednesday at which he and his wife would be recognized for their contributions to the Penn State community.
Both Paterno and Spanier were said by authorities to have been told of allegations of sexual abuse of children by assistant football coach Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky. Two other university officials-- athletic director Tim Curly and Vice President of Finance Gary Shultz--have been charged with failing to report the crimes and lying to a grand jury during an investigation.
Paterno today would have faced questions for the first time in public of why he did not report the allegations to police.
In 2002, graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky in the shower of the football team's locker rooms sexually assaulting a young boy of about 10. McQueary told Paterno what he saw, and rather than tell the police, Paterno reported the information to his boss, Curly, and then never spoke of the incident again, according to a grand jury presentment.
Paterno released a statement Sunday saying he "did what (he) was supposed to do" by reporting the incident only to his supervisor, Curly.
Curly and his supervisor, Shultz, did not report the incident to police. They then told Spanier that Sandusky had been seen acting inappropriately with a boy in the showers and had therefore restricted his access to campus grounds. Spanier approved, and did not contact the police.
Under Pennsylvania state law, only Curly and Shultz were responsible for contacting the police to report the incident, according to the attorney general.
Though Paterno and Spanier have not been charged, student groups, local newspapers, and sports fans have called for both men to step down. Neither Paterno nor Spanier has announced plans to do.
The allegations against Sandusky include eight named victims who have testified that Sandusky befriended them through the charitable organization he founded, The Second Mile, a group home and outreach program for troubled boys. Sandusky allegedly tried to mentor the boys, plied them with gifts, trips to sporting events, and access to the Penn State football facilities, and then sexually assaulted them.
Sandusky had coached at Penn State for 23 years, and served as the defensive coordinator before retiring in 1999. After his retirement, Sandusky continued to have full access to the school's grounds and an office in the football department, where he brought children from The Second Mile, according to the indictment.