Since last Thursday’s release of the Freeh report, one of the more significant questions surrounding Penn State became what the university would do regarding the image of former coach Joe Paterno.
While the university’s Board of Trustees have yet to make an official decision regarding Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium, a group of PSU students have decided to rename the tent city formed outside the stadium known as Paternoville since 2005.
The area will now be known as Nittanyville.
Paternoville officers announced their intent in a statement Monday. Below are comments from Paternoville Vice President Jeff Lowe:
“We always have discussed the idea of changing the name once Joe was no longer the head coach. The discussions slowed down a bit in January as we waited for more information. With the Freeh Report being released, we began the process of careful discussion and planning so we could make the right decision if faced with the situation where we would have to change the name.
“The idea of being in the middle of a political war over the name, due to our association with Joe Paterno, has to lead to threats, hate mail and efforts from people outside of Penn State to try to ruin our ability to run an effective organization.
“Past presidents were made aware of our plan and did give us their full support. Obviously they had thoughts and opinions on the matter, but most of all they were very adamant on letting us know they supported whatever decision we made.”
And here are comments by Paternoville President Troy Weller:
“The discussion to change the name was initiated by us. When we were coming closer to a decision, we notified the university of our proposed plans and they gave us their support.
“Now, it’s a new era of Nittany Lion football and by changing the name to Nittanyville we want to return the focus to the overall team and the thousands of students who support it.
“We thank the Paterno family for their gracious assistance and support over the last several years.”
Even if student-led, this is obviously a huge move to place some more distance between the school and the longtime coach. The Freeh report claims Paterno knew of an investigation targeting former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in 1998 when Paterno previously claimed he did not. The report also indicates strongly that Paterno, along with high-ranking university officials, spent over a decade covering up allegations of child-sex abuse involving Sandusky.
Since the Freeh release, the university has only acknowledged it plans to renovate the showers and locker room of the Lasch building, where Sandusky molested many of his victims, but that’s been in the works for months.
(Hat tip: Statecollege.com)