STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS Cleveland/AP) — Two tickets for Joe Paterno’s public memorial service were selling for nearly $100,000 on eBay before the website shut down the auction, CBS Sports reports.
An auction appeared on the site after it was announced that there were no more free tickets for Thursday’s “A Memorial for Joe” service. The bids reached as high as $99,509 for the pair of tickets before it was taken down.
Amanda Coffee, spokeswoman for eBay Inc., said the site has unspecified internal controls to remove inappropriate ads. She said eBay doesn’t “allow the sale of tickets to events in which all tickets are free to the public” and yanked ads seeking money for tickets to the memorial.
Emily Ricken, 20, a Penn State anthropology major from Altoona, said she was on her computer at 9 a.m. and got two tickets to the memorial service that she would never sell.
“I think it’s absolutely repulsive that people are taking an event that’s supposed to be a celebration of life and trying to use it for monetary profit,” she said Tuesday, waiting in line with hundreds of others to walk past Paterno’s closed casket at the a campus spiritual center.
The service will be held at Penn State’s 16,000-seat basketball arena. The school says there was “overwhelming demand” for tickets.
On Tuesday, Penn State football players past and present filed past the closed casket of Paterno at the campus spiritual, mourning the coach who helped shape the university for more than a half century. Among those paying their respects was Mike McQueary, a key figure in the events that led to Paterno’s firing.
The players wore dark suits and filed out of three blue Penn State buses — the same buses that once carried Paterno and the team to games at Beaver Stadium on fall Saturdays. Son Scott Paterno was seen coming in and out of the center.
McQueary, then a graduate assistant for Penn State, went to Paterno in 2002 saying he had witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky assaulting a boy in the shower at the Penn State football building. Paterno relayed that to his bosses — including the head of campus police — but university trustees felt he should have done more, and it played into their decision to fire the longtime coach on Nov. 9. That came four days after Sandusky was arrested on multiple child sex-abuse counts.
Dressed in a blue coat and tie with a white shirt, the school colors, McQueary was among thousands of expected mourners at an event that was to stretch late into Tuesday night.
One current and one former team member will stand guard over the casket for the duration of the public viewing, athletic department spokesman Jeff Nelson said.
“He left us too early and I think about the impact he could have made once he retired from coaching,” Nelson said.
The 85-year-old Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football, died Sunday. His lung cancer was disclosed in November, just days after he was fired.
Paterno’s family gathered earlier Tuesday for a private viewing, Nelson said. The family was joined by current players and new Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, followed by former players.
A line of ex-players stretched around the corner and down the block. Among the mourners were former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris. Others there included NFL receivers Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood, Norwood’s father and Baylor assistant coach Brian Norwood and former quarterback Daryll Clark.
The event marked the start of three days of public mourning as the Penn State community in State College and beyond said goodbye to the man who led the Nittany Lions to 409 wins over 46 years.
Big crowds were expected to show their love for Paterno, starting with a 10-hour public viewing that begins in early afternoon at Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. There is another public viewing Wednesday, and after that Paterno’s family will hold a private funeral and procession through State College.
Former players began arriving shortly after members of Paterno’s last team filed in. Some players hugged and O’Brien shook hands at the curb outside the center. By midmorning, with two busloads of players still paying respects, dozens more mourners showed up, lined up along the sidewalk.
With crowds spilling onto the curb, traffic slowed. A few people stared out windows from a classroom building across street.
Penn State linebacker Khairi Fortt recalled his coach’s lessons.
“He said the most important thing for us was to keep the Penn State tradition going,” the sophomore from Stamford, Conn., said after leaving the viewing.
Scott Paterno has said that despite the turmoil surrounding his termination from the school, Paterno remained peaceful and upbeat in his final days and still loved Penn State.
Bitterness over Paterno’s firing has turned up in many forms, from online postings to a rewritten newspaper headline placed next to Paterno’s statue at the football stadium blaming the trustees for his death. A headline that read “FIRED” was crossed out and made to read, “Killed by Trustees.” Lanny Davis, lawyer for the school’s board, said threats have been made against the trustees.
Scott Paterno, however, stressed his father did not die with a broken heart and did not harbor resentment toward Penn State.
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