Penn State Denies Decision Made on Fate of Paterno Statue
Updated at 6:55 p.m.
Penn State has not made a decision regarding the bronze Joe Paterno statue, the university said Sunday night, despite an ESPN Outside the Lines report saying otherwise.
“Contrary to various reports, neither the Board of Trustees nor University Administration has taken a vote or made a decision regarding the Joe Paterno statue at Beaver Stadium," university spokesman Dave La Torre said in a statement.
Earlier at 8:27 a.m.
Privately, the Penn State Board of Trustees have decided to leave the bronze statue of Joe Paterno standing — for now — according to an ESPN report.
The trustees' decision is fueled by its concern that alumni would be in uproar if the statue came down, the report says, citing unnamed sources familiar with the board’s thinking, and it doesn’t want to appear it is succumbing to public pressure to make a rash decision too soon in the wake of an independent investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The report, headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, put blame on Paterno and three top university officials for concealing allegations of Sandusky’s abuse for more than a decade out of fear of bad publicity.
Trustees told ESPN that many feel the statue should remain standing, at least in the coming weeks and months. However, some are split on whether it will come down at a later date.
Calls for the statue to be torn down have intensified since the Freeh Report was released Thursday. The board stated days ago at its recent meeting it would continue to discuss appropriate ways to honor the late football coach.
The board came under fire by alumni in November for firing the then-84-year-old coach who gave more than 60 years of service to the university. Since then, many have reconciled with that, but the board has learned from its past decisions.
"We don't want to jump the gun again," one trustee told ESPN. "When we did that in November, look where we ended up. If it does have to come down, it will be after much deliberation and discussion. If I had my way, (the statue) will always be there. People can take from it what they want."