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Ex-player says Paterno dropped him for rape allegation - abc27 WHTM

Ex-player says Paterno dropped him for rape allegation

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Austin Scott was living out his dream as a running back for the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2007, but that dreamed turned into a nightmare in the middle of his final season when he was accused of rape.

In just hours, Scott said he received a phone call from head coach Joe Paterno and his life changed forever.

"I get a phone call saying 'you are done and off the team.' And I said 'Coach, I am innocent,'" Scott told abc27 News. "He said 'I will not help you.' I said, 'Coach, I need your help. I didn't do any of this."

Scott said he pleaded with Paterno to keep him on the team.

"Once he found out he would not change his decision," Scott said. "I had asked him a couple games later if I could sit on the sidelines, just to be there, because I felt in the public eye, people felt I was guilty."

Scott was out of the football program, but still a student on the University Park campus.

"I wanted to hide," he said. "I wanted to hide my face and put a hat on and glasses because everyone around me was sitting and reading the paper with my face on the cover."

In 2008, the charges were dropped and his legal ordeal was over, but so was his college football career. The Sandusky scandal opens old wounds. Scott said he sees it as a double standard because he was dismissed by the same people who knew of child sex abuse allegations against the former assistant coach.

"I just felt abandoned reading all this," Scott said. "How could Jerry Sandusky still have an office for the last 10 years and they got rid of me so quick?"

Scott received his degree and continues to move forward, but he knows he will be remembered as the guy who was kicked off the football team because of a rape charge. He says he and Paterno in some ways share a common thread.

"He is no longer here, may he rest in peace, but I feel like his legacy will go through what I am going through and will continue to go through," Scott said.

Scott's rape charges were dropped just a few weeks before the NFL Draft. He went to the Cleveland Browns camp but did not make the team. He said he still loves Penn State and is optimistic the university will eventually recover from the scandal and move forward.

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