Nightly News | July 22, 2012
>>> big story we are watching tonight, the hammer is about to come down on penn state university in the wake of a cover up of the jerry sandusky child sex abuse scandal. today the statue of the legendary football coach joe paterno was unsermoniously removed as word came tomorrow the ncaa will have harsh sanctions against the university.
>> reporter: under orders from penn state 's president construction crews arrived before dawn today and began removing a controversial statue of the legendary coach joe paterno who died six months ago today. more than 100 students gathered as the statue was gathered away under a blue tarp leaving an empty void.
>> i think it is sad that this is happening. i think he is being used as a scapegoat.
>> reporter: the move comes as the ncaa prepares to impose sanctioning tomorrow which could include loss of scholarships and a multi-year ban on bowl games .
>> the reports are that the penalties are going to be very, very severe and they must be severe because if they are not severe penn state has skated free basically in what is without doubt the worst scandal in the history of intercollegiate sports.
>> reporter: penn state wasn't commenting on the pending ncaa decision but the action comes on the wake of a withering internal report that found top university oofficials including paterno concealed evidence of former defensive coach jerry sandusky 's child sex abuse for years.
>> the evidence shows that mr. paterno was made aware of the investigation of sandusky, followed it closely but failed to take any action.
>> reporter: the report also found paterno played a key role in a decision three years later by penn state officials not to report another allegation of abuse by sandusky in the football locker room showers. today penn state president said it was a recurring wound to victims of child abuse across the country.
>> the statue has no place as a public reminder to those who were hurt so badly by mr. paterno .
>> reporter: the paterno family reacted ang riley in a statement today saying tearing down the statue of joe paterno does not serve the victims of jerry sandusky 's horrible crimes or help heal the penn state community.