UNIVERSITY PARK Jeff Nelson, Penn State's able and presumably weary sports information director, stepped to the microphone Friday morning in the Schwab Auditorium to introduce the school's acting athletic director.
Static briefly filled the mike with feedback.
Based on the events of the last two weeks - in which Penn State has been ravaged by sexual allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and promptly fired Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier the static was the least of the Nittany Lions' worries.
Because it will take more than a loose wire to tighten up all that needs repaired here.
That said, Penn State took its first step toward that by introducing Dr. David Joyner to head its athletic department.
Short of Colin Powell, it's difficult to imagine a stronger choice to put a tourniquet on a program that has been hemorrhaging from this nightmare.
Joyner may be best combination of student-athlete in Penn State history.
He was an All-American tackle in 1971 player and an outstanding wrestler. He was inducted into the Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 1991. An orthopedic surgeon, he was the United States team physician at the 1992 Olympic Games.
He will need to draw on his decorated past as Penn State is currently desperate for strong leadership.
Penn Staters are confused, angry, heartbroken and emotionally drained. Many of them are split over the Board of Trustees' firing of Paterno, who did not even get a chance to resign prior to a phone call that ended his 61-year tenure with PSU.
Joyner understands the wounds are deep, and he was willing to give up his seat on the board when asked by new President Rodney Erickson to assume this position.
Longtime Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett introduced Joyner by saying, "His leadership and integrity are unmatched."
He knows football pulled too much of a leash on the university, and that academic balance must be re-weighed.
He will chair the search for Paterno's successor, a massive task in itself.
It's unclear how long Joyner will keep the job. He didn't address that Friday, perhaps because Tim Curley, on administrative leave while he faces perjury charges, legally still has the job.
In assuming the AD's hat in the most fragile time in the university's history, logic would suggest he can't just leave town a week after landing the best football candidate he can find or convince.
"I'll be here as long as it takes and whatever time frame that is," Joyner said. "The athletic director, acting athletic director, will be here for selecting a coach and perhaps quite a while after that."
While Joyner addresses the issues he's aware of, he'll also encounter new and potentially damaging information along the way such as the NCAA's confirmation on Friday that it will investigate Penn State.
Who knows what sanctions, if any, the NCAA will decide upon and how much that will hamper the rebuilding job Penn State faces on and off the field.
Joyner also will encounter perception issues, including the fact that he was a longtime member of the board - an oblivious board that he said Friday was never made aware of issues surrounding Sandusky until the Harrisburg Patriot-News broke the story March 31 of the grand jury's investigation.
"I'm not an insider," he said. "I wasn't involved directly with the athletic program."
Regardless, Joyner seems committed, saying, "I'm deeply honored," and pledged to "align the core values" of the athletic department with the university.
"I consider myself the dean of the college of intercollegiate athletics," he said. "I'm here to help. My mantra is do the right thing every time."
Had that been done in the past, he would not be here, which is why the reeling Nittany Nation ought to welcome new and strong leadership leadership committed to the university first and the football program second - with open arms.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or nrudel@altoona