If you had asked people at this time last year whether Penn State should honor Joe Paterno, you would get a yes from every single person polled.
Following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, nothing is certain when it comes to Penn State’s football program.
New President Rodney Erickson is trying to change the public image of the institution by getting the focus on academics all without forgetting or replacing the football culture and like it or not, Paterno is a big part of that culture.
On Wednesday night, he went so far as to say that Paterno will be honored by the university, but a timetable is not in place.
As painful as it may be for some Nittany Lions, this is the right thing to do.
Penn State would not be anything like it is today if it weren’t for Joe Pa, and for that he should be remembered. He was an active member of the community and was largely the face of an school that in many ways is a symbol of excellence; now it just has one, albeit large, black eye.
If he had been the man who actually committed these crimes, this would be a different story but people make mistakes, some much bigger than others.
In order to move forward from the one mistake Paterno and others at the university made, you have to remember what happened and where you came from, no matter how painful that may be. History cannot simply be ignored because it isn’t pleasant to remember.
How they decide to honor Paterno has yet to be decided. It should not be anything extravagant but something that reflects what he has done for the university as well as acknowledge his mistakes.
Accomplish that and there’s no reason for Penn State not to honor its legendary coach when enough time has passed to let emotions settle down.