Penn State mulling naming stadium field after Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno
Photo: Getty Images

Penn State trustees and high-ranking university officials are discussing naming the football field at Beaver Stadium after longtime coach Joe Paterno.

Spotlight PA, citing sources, reported that two private meetings were held in January where trustees pushed hard for the field naming while officials were hesitant.

Paterno was fired in 2011 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. The disgraced coach died just 74 days later, at age 85.

Sandusky was found guilty on 45 charges of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Paterno was never charged.

After his firing, Paterno’s statue was removed from outside Beaver Stadium. The NCAA vacated then later restored more than 100 of his coaching victories. Paterno is the all-time coaching wins leader with 409 victories. The Nittany Lions won two national titles and three Big Ten titles with him at the helm.

According to Spotlight PA’s sources, trustees held a Jan. 16 “briefing” on the field naming, and a Jan. 29 “executive session.” Both were held behind closed doors, the sources said. The Board of Trustees potentially violated a state law requiring governing bodies to conduct business in public view, according to Spotlight PA.

“​​The Administration and the Board of Trustees have embarked on numerous change initiatives based on President [Neeli] Bendapudi’s vision and goals and are focused on these priorities to continue to provide a world-class academic and student experience for years to come,” an unnamed spokesperson said in an email to Spotlight PA.

Regarding the Jan. 16 meeting, the university spokesperson told Spotlight PA that “counsel conducted this privileged informational briefing and no deliberation occurred.” As for the Jan. 29 executive session, trustees discussed “confidential and privileged matters” and that the private meeting was legal under the law’s exemptions, the spokesperson wrote.

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