Penn State students rallied in support of the head coach outside his home, but it may be too late for the 84-year-old icon.
The sexual abuse scandal that's shattering the reputation of Penn State football and casting a shadow over the entire university appears to be threatening the coach's job.
"It is clear that the man who has more victories than any other coach at college football's top level and who made Penn State a prestigious national brand will not survive to coach another season," a New York Times reporter wrote.
Paterno's spokesman and son Scott Paterno called the report premature, and officials at Penn State also said they had not heard anything about Paterno getting fired.
Earlier in the day, Penn State's president abruptly canceled Paterno's weekly news conference, where the coach had been anticipating questions about former assistant Jerry Sandusky.
"Due to the ongoing legal circumstances centered around the recent allegations and charges, we have determined that today's press conference cannot be held and will not be rescheduled," assistant Athletic Director Jeff Nelson said in a statement.
Outside of his home, Paterno told reporters that he wanted to have the news conference.
"I know you guys have a lot of questions, and I was hoping I was going to be able to answer them today," Paterno said. "We'll try to do it as soon as we can. Can't do it today."
Sandusky has been indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years. Authorities have said that Paterno is not a target in the investigation, but he is facing criticism for calling university officials instead of the police when he learned about the allegations involving one boy assaulted in a university shower.
In 2002, a graduate assistant told Paterno he saw Sandusky sexually assault a child in the showers at Penn State's football facility. Paterno reported it to the athletic director Tim Curley, who reportedly did nothing.
Curley and another administrator stepped down Sunday, and there have been calls for Paterno to resign.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in an editorial, called on Paterno and Penn State president Graham Spanier to both resign.
Pennsylvania state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said Monday in Harrisburg that Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators about the shower incident, but the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.
"Somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child," Noonan said.
ESPN analyst Matt Millen, a former Penn State player, choked up talking about his alma mater.
"It's pretty disturbing," he said.
Millen is also on the board of the charity that Sandusky started to help at-risk youth.
"This is more than a football legacy, this is about people. And if we can't protect our kids, we as a society are pathetic," he said.
A 23-page report alleges Sandusky used his position as a former coach and founder of charity to befriend young boys so he could sexually assault them.
Sandusky has maintained his innocence.
Paterno has won 409 games, the Division I record, along with two national titles. He has an impeccable record of focusing on academics as well as athletics - it's the Penn State library, not an athletic building, that is named for Paterno and his wife Sue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.