|Paterno statue being removed in the early hours of Sunday morning|
Penn State has finally made a decision, one that has been a long time coming according to many inside and outside of the Penn State community, as early this morning construction workers began the process of removing the statue located in front of Beaver Stadium.
In a statement released this morning Penn State president Rodney Erickson stated:
Since we learned of the Grand Jury presentment and the charges against Jerry Sandusky and University officials last November, members of the Penn State community and the public have been made much more acutely aware of the tragedy of child sexual abuse. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those victims of Mr. Sandusky and all other victims of child abuse. I assure you that Penn State will take a national leadership role in the detection and prevention of child maltreatment in the months and years ahead.
With the release of Judge Freeh’s Report of the Special Investigative Counsel, we as a community have had to confront a failure of leadership at many levels. The statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium has become a lightning rod of controversy and national debate, including the role of big time sports in university life. The Freeh Report has given us a great deal to reflect upon and to consider, including Coach Paterno’s legacy.
Throughout Penn State, the two most visible memorials to Coach Paterno are the statue at Beaver Stadium and the Paterno Library. The future of these two landmarks has been the topic of heated debate and many messages have been received in various University offices, including my own. We have heard from numerous segments of the Penn State community and others, many of whom have differing opinions. These are particularly important decisions when considering things that memorialize such a revered figure.
I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our University and beyond. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse.
For the full statement including the reasoning behind allowing the Paterno Library to stay the Paterno Library, go here.
Along with the statement by Penn State it has been announced that the NCAA will hold a 9amET press conference to announce "corrective and punitive measures" against Penn State University and it's athletic program. Both ESPN and CBSSports are reporting that the penalties will be significant, with one source stating "I've never seen anything like it," and CBS News stating the penalties will be "unprecedented" in nature.
For full coverage of the NCAA press conference as well as the follow up make sure you follow me on Twitter @andycoppens and by going to Crystal Ball Run for a national perspective on things. Also head over to our friends at The Nittany Lions Den for their coverage from a Penn State perspective. Until tomorrow, enjoy your Sunday!