Penn State scandal: NCAA considers 'death penalty' for football program

Decrease Increase Text size

University spokesman David La Torre said a decision on the matter would be made in seven to 10 days. Regardless of Penn State's decision on the statue, it's clear that Paterno's name is losing its luster.

Jerry Sandusky, left, with Joe Paterno when Sandusky was an assistant coach and heir apparent to Paterno at Penn State. AP Photo.

Paternoville, a tent city outside Beaver Stadium where students camp out for prime football tickets, was scrapped Monday in favor of Nittanyville.

Nike took Paterno's name off a child care center on its corporate campus on Thursday, the day the Freeh report was released. The halo that had floated above Paterno's head in a State College mural was removed Saturday. In its place the artist added a blue ribbon in support of child abuse awareness.

Brown University in Rhode Island, the late coach's alma mater, said that not only had it removed Paterno's name from its head football coaching position and a student award, but it's also reviewing whether to remove him from the school's athletic hall of fame, too.

And a Connecticut middle school said it would paint over its own mural of Paterno.

Although there was some negative reaction to Paterno immediately after Sandusky's arrest - the Big Ten dropped Paterno's name from the conference championship trophy where it had been next to that of Amos Alonzo Stagg, who won almost 100 fewer games - the pace has picked up since the Freeh report was released.

The Paterno statue, in particular, has been a point of much contention. Critics have called for the sculpture to be taken down after the Freeh report concluded that Paterno was aware of a 1998 allegations against Sandusky - in contrast to his grand jury testimony and an interview given after his firing - and that he was involved in the decision to hide a 2001 incident from the authorities.

On Tuesday, a small plane pulled a banner over State College reading, "Take the statue down or we will."

The plane is licensed to Air America Aerial Ads of Genoa, Ohio. A person who answered the phone at Air America declined to give his name or identify who paid for the flight.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the agency grounded a plane from the company after it towed banners taunting Tiger Woods during the 2010 Masters golf tournament.

The Freeh report raised the culpability of Paterno and former university President Graham Spanier to the same level as two other key figures: former Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley.

Schultz and Curley await trial on charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. They deny the allegations against them.

Spanier is not charged, and his attorneys have criticized the Freeh report, saying it contains inaccuracies.

Paterno's family denies he participated in any attempt at a cover-up.

Erickson, who pledged greater transparency after he was named Spanier's successor, called the past eight months "the most difficult and saddest chapter in the university's history" but vowed to make it right.

"We can't rewrite that chapter in terms of what happened in the past, but we are taking responsibility for what happened," he continued. "We're determined to emerge from all of this as a stronger, better university."

  1. «
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. »

Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.

Recommended For You
comments powered by Disqus