According to Don Van Natta, Jr., Penn State president Rodney Erickson is expected to make a decision on the removal of the Paterno statue within 72 hours. Kim Jones's initial report is looking more and more accurate. The point of contention trustees had was with Bonnie Bernstein's report that a vote was taken. According to Van Natta. Jr., a vote would have violated state law since the discussion occurred via conference call and votes are required to take place during "declared board meetings." But it looks like it's not even their decision to take a vote on.
Semantics aside, the important thing here is that the board and Penn State administrators are finally approaching an issue intent on making the right decision regardless of perception.
What to do about the statue has been a highly emotional topic among administrators and the board of trustees, sources said Friday. Much of the discussion has centered on how the NCAA will interpret whatever decision is made about the statue, sources said.
The trustees have been concerned this week that the NCAA will hand down an extreme punishment, possibly the death penalty for the football program, for the school's "loss of institutional control" in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Dealing with the statue issue, and the resignation of Garban, was needed to show the public the board was serious about "moving forward," one trustee said.
"It's a highly sensitive decision," another trustee said Friday. "The decision is a symbolic one. We have to be very careful about what kind of message we send."
The trustees' reluctance to remove the statue was motivated in part by a desire not to offend alumni and students who adore the late coach, despite the findings of his role in the Sandusky cover-up detailed in the Freeh report, the sources said.
Also part of the trustees' reluctance to remove the statue is that some of them paid for the statue, which was commissioned by the group "Friends of Joe and Sue Paterno." The group was made up of some 35 past and present trustees including Ed Hintz and Jim Broadhurst who have denied claims that in 2001 university president Graham Spanier notified them about the Sandusky investigation.
Image via Getty
School president to make statue call [ESPN]