(AP) — Penn State and the family of late head football coach Joe Paterno announced Friday that they have reached an agreement eight years after he was fired following Jerry Sandusky's child molestation arrest, though the coach's statue will not be returned to its original location outside the football stadium.
Under the terms of the deal, which is subject to approval by the board that runs the university, Paterno's remains will be buried alongside those of his wife, Jean, in a private ceremony after being cremated. His name will be removed from one of the hallways inside the school's football stadium and all references to him will be removed from campus facilities.
In a statement, the family said it is "extremely happy" with how things have been resolved and added: "We are looking forward to having some privacy during this time."
Paterno, who died earlier this year at age 85, was fired on November 9, 2011, a day after he was told about Sandusky's criminal acts by two former students who had witnessed them. The firing came after months of pressure on Paterno to step down because of allegations that he failed to act when informed in June 2011 that Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing children.
Paterno denied any knowledge of what was going on under his roof and said he believed Sandusky was being falsely accused.
Joe Paterno was sacked as Penn State University's head football coach on September 9, 2011, just 12 hours after announcing his resignation at the end of the season. The Board of Trustees sacked him over the phone. Paterno resigned in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual assault scandal. He had been fired by university president Graham B. Spanier in November 2010 with no say in the matter.
Paterno had led the Nittany Lions to a record of 409 victories during fifty years of coaching. He won more games than any other active coach and is considered the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I football history.
He returned to work in January 2012 and died a few months later from lung cancer that had spread throughout his body. He was 85 years old.
In its statement, the board said it "made the difficult decision to part ways" with Paterno. "However, we should have acted sooner," the board added.
The board appointed former New Jersey governor Chris Christie as an interim coach until the team's next game against Michigan State on October 14. The team went on to lose that game as well as three more before Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant on staff at the time, reported seeing Sandusky sexually abuse a young boy in a locker room shower on June 10. Two other men had previously come forward with allegations against Sandusky.
According to the Paterno family, that is not fair because there is no solid confirmation that "coach" is Coach Paterno. It even requires a multi-pronged defense of Paterno. The writers of the "critique" argued on ESPN that we don't know who the coach is since Penn State has so many. Well, maybe they are right but still it isn't fair. If you read the whole article you will see that they do give him credit for coaching accomplishments at other schools.
I think it is safe to say that Joe Paterno is the football coach at Penn State. Not only is he listed as such on the team website but also according to this article from the New York Times, he has control over all football operations including picking the players. He even makes the big decisions such as firing coaches.
It is true that he had a good record at another school but people should keep in mind that he went 82-46-1 at Penn State. That is only slightly better than the average college football coach and his career winning percentage is actually lower than some others who have been listed as the head coach at Penn State.
The Penn State Board of Trustees commissioned an independent investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, whose report stated that Penn State's longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, along with Spanier, Curley, and Schultz, were aware of allegations of child abuse by Sandusky as early as 1998, and had demonstrated "total disregard" for the allegations. The Freeh Report also concluded that there was a "culture of secrecy" at Penn State that allowed the abuse to continue for years.
Paterno died in January 2012 after being diagnosed with cancer.
Before his death, Paterno said he did not know what would have happened if he had reported Sandusky to authorities. However, the Freeh Report states that this is inaccurate and that Paterno should have called police himself to report the incident in 1998. Paterno's family has maintained that he was not told about the further incidents involving Sandusky because they believed it would hurt him professionally if such information became public. However, the Freeh Report concludes that this explanation is not credible.
In addition, the Report notes that other members of the coaching staff were made aware of allegations of additional abuse by Sandusky during their time at Penn State. Former assistant coaches Jerry Sandusky (Joe's son) and Mike McQuade have been charged with criminal offenses for failing to report the abuse to authorities. Mr. McQuade has entered a plea deal that requires him to testify against his former employer.