Penn State Sponsors Anxiously Watch How Events Unfold

Penn State Lion Shrine

Image by drocpsu via Flickr

Now that it has dealt with a Penn State student riot over coach Joe Paterno’s firing, the university may soon have to deal with corporate sponsors rebelling against its brand. The university-wide athletics program has dozens of sponsors, like Pepsi and AT&T, who are closely watching the university’s next move. The school’s football program is considered its crown jewel, bringing in $72 million a year, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sponsors Chevrolet, PNC Financial, John Deere, the American Red Cross and healthcare company Highmark told ABC News they are not jumping ship yet. Since former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on 40 criminal counts on Saturday for allegedly abusing at least eight boys over 15 years, no sponsor has publicly canceled its contract with Penn State. Sandusky has been reportedly released on bail of $100,000.

The university’s board of trustees fired legendary head football coach Joe Paterno on Wednesday. Interim coach Tom Bradley will take Paterno’s place during the school’s last home game on Saturday against the Unversity of Nebraska. The board also fired university president, Graham Spanier, Wednesday evening.

Spanier, college president for 16 years, said in a statement his “heartfelt sympathies go out to all those who may have been victimized” and “he would never hesitate to report a crime if I had any suspicion that one had been committed.”

It is too early to tell whether Penn State’s corporate sponsors will bail on the university, said Scott Rosner, professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Though the logo of paint company and Penn State sponsor Sherwin Williams was no longer on the press conference backdrop behind interim coach Tom Bradley on Thursday. Sherwin Williams did not return a request for comment. Before the scandal broke on Saturday, Penn State was one of the most “undermonetized stars” in college sports, said Rosner, also associate director of Wharton’s Sports Business Initiative. For more information check out the full article originally posted by abcnews.com here.

One comment

  1. On November 9, 2011, Bradley was named Penn State’s interim head coach after the university’s board of trustees fired Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

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