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'Joe Out' Called for UMass Football Game

by on September 16, 2014 1:45 PM

You may see a lot of dark sunglasses and rolled up pant legs at Beaver Stadium this weekend, thanks to a grassroots movement to honor former Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno.

A "Joe Out" is being put together by Laurie Anne Stanell, a Bucks County dentist. "We want Joe honored. He is our legacy," says Stanell, who graduated from Penn State in 1980.

"The tide may be turning with what happened in the last week," she says, referring to the NCAA's decision to drop a ban on bowl games and increase the number of football scholarships ahead of schedule."

Those were some of the sanctions imposed in the wake of the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal that cost Paterno his job.

Most sanctions were eliminated early in recognition of Penn State's efforts to raise awareness and stop child sex abuse. However, a decision to vacate 111 victories under Paterno remains in effect. Penn State must also continue to pay a $60 million fine and forfeit Big Ten bowl revenue for two more years.

Stanell, who previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on Penn State Board of Trustees, has set up a Facebook page declaring the UMass game on Sept. 20 as a Joe Out. She admits the name is a bit backwards. "We should not have called it a Joe Out," she says. It should be a Joe In because it was the board of trustees that took Joe out. It's just a take on the White Out, the Blue Out."

Stanell says her campaign has nothing to do with the new coaching staff. "God Bless Coach Franklin. We're happy for him. We're happy to have him as our coach. We love the team. It's nothing spiteful. It's all about honoring our past."

As of early Tuesday afternoon, more than 360 people had signed up on the Joe Out Facebook page, promising to participate. Stanell says the response has been "99.9 percent positive."

So, what will Paterno supporters be doing at the stadium? "I say go for it, whatever you want to do," says Stanell. "People are bringing posters, people are dressing up like Joe, people are wearing 'We Are Because He Was' Tee-shirts."

Stanell, who says she's a fourth generation Penn Stater, hopes this will become an annual thing. She points out that Alabama fans still wear houndstooth hats to show respect for the late Bear Bryant, noting that "he's been gone for a long time."

She says this isn't about football -- it's about what Paterno did for the university and how he stressed success with honor and academics. "Hopefully, this will push more people to see that he needs to be honored in a more concrete way, not just by fans, because we still love him and we still respect the man.

"It's supposed to be a positive thing -- a postive thing about a man who helped build our school ... to where we are today, a world class institution."

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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