NCAA to restore Paterno football wins at Penn State
A lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania elected state officials against the college athletic body was settled on Friday. Part of the settlement included over one hundred wins reinstated to the late head football coach.
Philadelphia — The late Joe Paterno, whose record at Penn State as the winningest coach in college football was tarnished by a child sex scandal involving an assistant coach, was No. 1 again on Friday after the NCAA settled a lawsuit with two elected state officials.
The NCAA agreed to restore 112 wins - 111 of which were Paterno's - to Penn State's record.
"Today is a victory for the Penn State nation," said State Senator Jake Corman, who represents the area surrounding the school's main campus. "The NCAA has surrendered."
The governing body of US college sports had voided Penn State's football victories for 14 seasons as part of a package of sanctions to punish the school for failing to stop the abuse by Jerry Sandusky, an assistant coach on Paterno's staff.
Reinstating the victories restores Paterno's record as the winningest head coach in big-time US college football history.
Penn State officials were accused of not taking action after being alerted that Sandusky was sexually abusing children, sometimes in the locker room showers.
The scandal led to Paterno, who won two national championships and had been one of the most revered figures in college football, being fired along with other top school officials shortly after the scandal broke in November 2011. He died of lung cancer a little more than two months later at age 85.
Sandusky, 70, is serving 30 to 60 years in prison after being convicted of molesting 10 boys.
Corman sued the NCAA with State Treasurer Rob McCord over a $60 million penalty imposed on the university for child abuse prevention. McCord and Corman wanted the money spent in the state and Friday's settlement clears the way for it.
The Corman-McCord lawsuit morphed into a broader challenge over whether the NCAA had the authority to punish the university.
At a news conference in Harrisburg on Friday, Corman said the settlement repeals the sanctions imposed on the university because of the scandal.
In addition to the $60 million penalty, Penn State was banned from lucrative post-season games for four years and had the number of scholarships for players reduced from 25 to 15.
At the time the sanctions were imposed in July 2012, Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, said Penn State had put "hero worship and winning at all costs" ahead of integrity, honesty and responsibility. (Aditional reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Bill Trott)