Joyner defending himself
CHICAGO – Dave Joyner enjoys being Penn State’s athletic director and would like to keep the job for a long time, but no matter what he does, there will always be a large group of people who believe he had no business ever getting the job in the first place.
Joyner was on the PSU Board of Trustees at the beginning of the Sandusky scandal, the same board that fired Joe Paterno. For that, legions of Penn State fans have never forgiven the trustees and believe that it was a conflict of interest for Joyner to be put into the position of acting AD (the acting title has since been removed).
Penn State President Rodney Erickson will step down in June 2014, and Joyner currently is slated to remain the AD until then. Joyner was asked Wednesday if it’s viable for him to continue as AD beyond that point, given that there is such hostility among many fans toward him for his ties to the Board of Trustees.
“I’m the AD right now, so I’m certainly very comfortable running the department and doing what we’ve done,” Joyner said. “But what happens and the reasons for it happening in the future are beyond me. My job is to do the best I can and let the results on and off the field speak for themselves.”
For Penn State to move forward, though, the anti-Joyner crowd argues that someone in such a key position cannot have ties to the Board of Trustees. If Joyner were to remain in office, it could continue to create a divide and anger a large portion of the fan base.
“Well, if you’re the President of the United States and 48 percent of the people on a good day don’t like you, that’s a tough job to live with,” Joyner said. “I think that people have their own opinions about me, and they’re welcome to them. But my job is to lead by whatever examples that we bring forth at the end of each year and at the end of each day, and I’ll let them speak for themselves.”
Each time he’s been asked about his future, Joyner has always said he wants to do what’s best for the university.
“I’ve said in the past that I’m here to serve Penn State University, and I’m here to do that as long as they see that I’m valuable,” he said.
His value, though, would have to be gauged against the potential harm that could result by the fan base being outraged if he stays on.
“That will be up to other people than myself,” Joyner said of his future as AD, “but I have to operate thinking, trying to lay plans – whether I’m there or not – lay plans for what Penn State’s going to be like five years from now, 10 years from now.
“I’ll just keep doing my job and doing the best I can do, and whatever happens, happens.”