Penn State, Bradley might talk coaching position next week wire reports

Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley may get a chance to make his pitch to take the job permanently sometime next week.

Acting athletic director David Joyner doesn't think fired coach Joe Paterno's replacement has to have head-coaching experience. Nor does Joyner view previous ties to the university as a negative.

A month after the school descended into turmoil following child sex-abuse charges against a retired assistant coach, Penn State is moving forward with the arduous task of rebuilding the proud program.

Whether that long-term future includes Bradley remains in question, though the longtime defensive coordinator is at least expected to lead the 24th-ranked Nittany Lions (9-3) when they play No. 20 Houston (12-1) in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2 in Dallas.

"Tom and I are talking about that now. We're going to work it out on his schedule," Joyner said Thursday evening in Dallas, where he and Bradley formally accepted the invite to the game played at the Cotton Bowl. "He's got a lot of things he's got to pay attention to right now."

Bradley said he thought that meeting would come next week. Regardless of who is on Joyner's interview list -- and Joyner said he did not have a list of finalists -- the next coach will have a myriad of issues to navigate over for months to come.

Bradley took over Nov. 9 after school trustees fired Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno amid mounting pressure that school leaders should have done more to prevent allegations of abuse by ex-assistant Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky faces more than 50 charges and has maintained his innocence. Paterno is not a target of the investigation.

But the scandal's ramifications are wide ranging, including several other probes or inquiries into the school and program.

The latest comes from the Big Ten, which said it will conduct its own review and reserved the right to hand down sanctions pending its findings. The 12-member league also planned an immediate review of institutional control of athletics at its schools, including the possibility of a common set of "stress tests" to ensure accountability and oversight.

The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors said Thursday it had "significant concerns as to whether a concentration of power in a single individual or program may have threatened or eroded institutional control" of athletics at Penn State.

Penn State President Rodney Erickson, who also took office Nov. 9 after Graham Spanier resigned under pressure, planned take part in discussions with his league counterparts.

"We understand the concerns of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, we intend to work with them to fulfill the Big Ten's needs for information," school spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

The NCAA is already examining whether Penn State violated bylaws covering institutional control and ethical conduct in its handling of the abuse accusations. The Department of Education and school trustees have their own, separate probes.

All of which will most certainly continue under the watch of the new coach. Erickson has said he hopes to have one by the bowl game, while Joyner added Thursday that he's looking at a 30-day window to find Paterno's replacement.

"We've got to do this search as rapidly as we can," Joyner said.

He didn't name names, though he did acknowledge that Bradley was a candidate. A veteran of 33 years as an assistant under Paterno, Bradley had been defensive coordinator since 2000 - taking over after Sandusky retired.

Bradley doesn't have previous head-coaching experience, though he has been Paterno's de-facto stand-in during instances when his former boss wasn't on the field because of injuries.

Asked if Paterno's replacement had to have head-coaching experience, Joyner said, "Doesn't have to be. Certainly head-coaching experience is a strong thing to consider, but head coaches had to be assistant coaches somewhere."

Some critics have said the next coach should have not have university ties given the scandal.

"It's certainly not a negative," Joyner said. "They understand our process ... They understand what Penn State's all about."

Co-defensive coordinators Larry Johnson (defensive line) and Ron Vanderlinden (linebackers) could also be candidates if Penn State stayed in-house. But the other assistants are loyal to Bradley, who has also earned added respect among players for his handling of the team through the crisis.

Meantime, there's a bowl game for which to prepare -- though the TicketCity wasn't the expected landing spot for a team that finished 9-3 and tied with Wisconsin in the Big Ten Leaders Division at 6-2. The TicketCity Bowl had the seventh selection of bows with conference tie-ins, after the BCS games.

Some players voiced their disappointment on Twitter postings after the announcement Sunday night. The Nittany Lions got to talk it out at squad meetings this week.

"They've dealt with this before. This is a group of players that had nothing to do with the scandal," Bradley said. "They've done everything we've asked them to do. It's just an opportunity to go out and play football."

Penn State has already said it intends to use its bowl revenue for causes that promote awareness of child abuse study, prevention and treatment. That amount could now be up to $2.3 million, the school said Thursday.

Erickson had said that $1.5 million will go toward a partnership with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Penn State announced earlier this week the rest would help start a new institute to be spearheaded by a Center for the Protection of Children to be based at the university's medical center in Hershey.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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