"It's a tragic day for Penn State University, to say the least," Dauphin County Magisterial District Judge William Wenner said Tuesday in ruling there is sufficient evidence to try Spanier, former PSU Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley on charges including perjury, child endangerment, obstruction and failing to report abuse.
State prosecutors alleged Spanier, Schultz and Curley lied to a grand jury about their knowledge of allegations former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted boys, CNN reported.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison after his June 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sex abuse.
An internal investigation by Penn State turned up emails indicating Spanier, Schultz and Curley decided -- after learning in 2001 of accusations against Sandusky -- to request he no longer bring boys into PSU locker rooms.
"There was a conspiracy of silence," prosecutor Bruce Beemer said during the hearing that led up to Wenner's ruling Tuesday. "They are not relieved of criminal responsibility because their conspiracy worked for 10 years."
Attorneys for Spanier, Schultz and Curley argued there is no evidence of a coverup.
No trial date has been set for the three former school leaders.