Joe Paterno to Retire From Penn State

Football coach says he wants to step down in light of growing scandal.
4:53 | 11/09/11

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Transcript for Joe Paterno to Retire From Penn State
There is a ferocious debate underway about the exit of a titan. Who is stood at the top of sports for 45 years the pressure mounting even at this hour. Against Penn State football coach Joseph Paterno he said today. He will retire because of the allegations that one of his top coaches sexually abused -- young boys but tonight. Everyone is taking sides somebody ask him returned to coach for more gains. So what is owed the alleged victims and what is -- the man -- for 45 years stood for all that was good in college football. And this is the image she'd like us to remember Paterno at the height of his glory on the shoulders of a triumphant team. ABC's Dan Harris begins with the developments at this hour -- -- damn good evening Joseph Paterno clearly wants to retire on his own terms what is unclear is whether the members of the board of trustees who -- meeting tonight. Will accept those terms. Now. Tonight Joseph Paterno wants that colossus Astride Penn State is angling for justice. Board game one last shot at glory. In his statement Paterno said he was devastated. Over the alleged child sex crimes of one of its former coaches Jerry sandusky. And that he wanted to finish -- the season with dignity and determination. A -- This coaching great -- -- his players. And broke down in tears. You love the -- emotional people who know. Consumers maybe close to get what he deserves it. But some say all of this is just fancy footwork on the part of the 84 year old coach saying he would have retired at the end of this season anyway. Members of the board of trustees were not consulted and they could simply fire him now. In fact ABC news has learned tonight they are likely to force out the longtime president of Penn State. Grand Spaniard Paterno -- role in this scandal revolves around his actions in 2002. After a junior staffer told Paterno he -- -- and -- allegedly abusing a boy in the -- showers. Paterno alerted a pair of university officials but those officials never told police and neither did Paterno. Today he admitted. With the benefit of hindsight I wish I had -- board and but some are calling this arrogance dressed up -- humility. Pointing to return -- performance at a rally in support of him outside of his house overnight. What did you think of Joseph Paterno -- behavior by leading the cheers. I saw him smiling and I just I just got six Jennifer storm who advocates for child sex abuse victims. Says Penn State should instead be -- and I see people like that fifteen year old boy who got the investigation started when he came forward. -- safes and -- he had abused him for four years by stepping forward you're saying this fifteen year old. Prevented other victims absolutely sexual violence shrouded in secrecy and silence that fifteen Euro broke the silence percent asking. And -- late news tonight the US Department of Education the federal government announcing it will investigate. How Penn State handled. These sex abuse cases back to you are dead and as we -- a 45 year career but four more games he wants a what is right. Time now to bring him access to network ESPN's Jeremy shaft so Jeremy what's the answer what's right what to pick up. Well let me put it this -- Diane. If Joseph Paterno truly has the best interest of university. Of the student body in of his team -- heart. He won't cold the next two months he can only be a terrible distraction -- team with this controversy swirling around him. Robert what do you -- devil's advocate here 84 years old this storied career it's not gonna change the lives of the alleged victim's former games. But when you have an -- to make a statement we -- with the university leadership has now he's being morally bereft on this issue up to this point. It really does have to put its priorities complacency. This is behavior of the cannot be tolerated he does not get to dictate the terms of his departure from Penn State. You know people who went on line and ESP ever had a different -- -- yes the poll conducted and yes -- suggested that 61%. Of the people out there who voted in this poll. Think he should be allowed that opportunity this was not a scientific poll if you ask people were not sports fans. You might get a very different and chairman great to have you here and we want everyone to tell us what you think. Here at abcnews.com. And also our sister network ESPN. Which we'll have continuing coverage of the story in all the latest developments threw out the night.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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