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Paterno Memorial Tickets Go Fast

Joe Paterno
Patrick Smith, Getty Images

More than 10,000 free tickets made available to the public for a memorial service for Penn State football coach Joe Paterno were snapped up in seven minutes Tuesday, with some offered for sale on eBay before the site pulled those ads.

The service will be held Thursday at the school’s 16,000-seat basketball arena, the Bryce Jordan Center. It will also be broadcast live on cable TV’s Big Ten Network and streamed live on the channel’s companion website and the Penn State athletics site.

Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football, died of cancer Sunday at age 85. He had been fired about two months earlier, with trustees saying Paterno did not meet a moral obligation to report to police allegations that Sandusky had molested a boy.

But coverage plans, the long lines at a public visitation and the demand for memorial tickets were stark evidence of Paterno’s appeal despite the child sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky that toppled Paterno and two high-ranking university officials.

The memorial service tickets were offered first-come, first-served to the public through the athletics website, with a limit of two per person. An athletic department spokeswoman said it’s possible attendance will exceed the arena’s official capacity because there likely will be seats on the floor.

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.  

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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