Updated: decision on Paterno statue reportedly coming in next 72 hours
Updated: 5:00 p.m. ET: The statue of former coach Joe Paterno may not necessarily come down in the next 72 hours as was originally reported, but a decision on what to do with it could.
Though Penn State trustees told Outside the Lines there was in fact a conference call Thursday night to converse about possible solutions, a final decision on the statue wasn’t made. Instead, that responsibility will reportedly lie with interim president Rodney Erickson.
Per OTL, Erickson is expected to decide whether to remove the statue in the next few days.
“It’s a highly sensitive decision,” a trustee told OTL Friday. “The decision is a symbolic one. We have to be very careful about what kind of message we send.”
Earlier this week, Penn State spokesperson Dave la Torre said a decision on whether to keep the statue of former coach Joe Paterno would be made within the next 7-10 days.
Reportedly, at least for a moment, that timeline looked to be accurate.
Multiple reports Friday morning from former ESPN/CBS reporter Bonnie Bernstein and the NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones say that the statue will be coming down this weekend. Bernstein adds that the school’s Board of Trustees voted to take down the statue during a conference call Thursday night.
However, la Torre issued a response soon after the tweets began coming in saying “I’m not aware of any decision being made,” regarding the Paterno statue. Penn State Board member Capt. Ryan McCombie added “We did no such thing” to Laura Nichols of Statecollege.com.
The board previously said they would take their time evaluating whether or not the statue should come down in the wake of the Freeh report released last week. The scathing investigation into Penn State’s (in)actions toward former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky placed significant blame on Paterno and other high-ranking PSU officials.
Since then, there have been multiple cries from outside State College for the statue of Paterno, located outside Beaver Stadium, to be taken down. A small plane displaying the banner “Take the statue down or we will” flew over Penn State Tuesday morning.