Penn State Nittany Lions trustees reportedly tried to rename stadium after Joe Paterno

Penn State Nittany Lions, Joe Paterno
Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Penn State Nittany Lions are one of the most storied programs in college football history, with countless memories happening at Beaver Stadium. Recently, a group of trustees attempted to get the stadium renamed after Joe Paterno.

Paterno, who died in 2012, was fired by Penn State in November 2011 after allegations emerged that he didn’t report incidents of sexual assault against minors by former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

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Penn State later took down Paterno’s statue in 2012, a decision that received strong backlash from trustees, boosters and fans at the time. Now more than a decade after the allegations came out, some close to the program want to honor Paterno in an even bigger way.

As reported by WJAC 6, Penn State trustees attempted to rename the football field after Paterno. While the effort was later withdrawn, there remains interest in renaming Beaver Stadium in Paterno’s honor at a later date and that’s not all some trustees want.

“Our proposal actually entails two components. The first would be Sue and Joe Paterno Day in the fall, at which time we’ll unveil Paterno Field at Beaver Stadium.”

Penn State Nittany Lions trustee Anthony Lubrano on wanting to honor Joe Paterno

University officials and others close to the program pushed back on the proposal to rename the stadium after Paterno. For those opposed, honoring the former Penn State coach in that way would shed a negative light on the university and its football program and remind many of the Sandusky scandal.

Proponents of renaming the stadium in the Paterno family’s honor point to the fact that he was never charged with anything and prosecutors have stated numerous times over the years that the former Nittany Lions coach wasn’t at fault for what happened.

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“We have to stop the fear-mongering. This is the right thing to do and this is a teachable moment, so we actually meet our mission of teaching research and service.”

Anthony Lubrano’s statement to those pushign back against renaming the Penn State Nittany Lions football stadium

Sandusky, now 80, was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of child abuse and sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. In addition, former university President Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley were also sentenced to jail time for failing to report Sandusky to authorities after they learned of the multiple sexual assault allegations against him.

Paterno, who has the most wins in college football history (409), was later stripped of 111 victories by the NCAA. However, in 2015, the NCAA restored those victories. With significant opposition to renaming Beaver Stadium after Paterno, a change is highly unlikely anytime soon.

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