According to Jessica Tully of OnwardState.com, a group unaffiliated with Penn State University is planning to finance a new statue of former head coach Joe Paterno, who had his old statue on Porter Road torn down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and his subsequent firing from the program.
Ted Sebastianelli, a former president of the Penn State Football Letterman's Club and one of the organizers of the group behind this project, said the following, per Tully:
There’s been some level of frustration among Penn Staters with what happened with the statue at the stadium. We wanted to come up with a way to honor Joe for all that he did for the State College community. It wasn’t just the university he impacted — it was the whole town.
Paterno is no longer the winningest head coach in FBS history, as 111 of his 409 victories were later vacated. He coached the Nittany Lions for 45 seasons between 1966 and 2011 before being fired for allegedly not reporting what he knew about Sandusky's sexual misconduct when Sandusky was an assistant coach.
After announcing the decision to fire JoePa in November 2011, board vice chair John Surma said the following, per ESPN.com:
The university is much larger than its athletic teams. The Penn State board of trustees tonight decided it is in the best interest of the university to have a change in leadership to deal with the difficult issues that we are facing.
The new statue—which is currently billed as "Joe's Bench"—will cost about $300,000 to build. Sebastianelli and his group plan to raise the money through Kickstarter and place the statue outside the Tavern Restaurant in State College, Pa.
"As alumni groups come back every summer to celebrate reunions, they migrate to the Tavern," Sebastianelli said, according to Tully. "They can sit and reflect on the bench. It really will be a wonderful addition to the community."
This is obviously a gray moral area for most, as it is tough to reconcile how much Paterno meant to PSU without having gone there and experienced it firsthand. Still, his alleged actions (or inactions) are hard for most to forgive, which will lead to sarcastic disapproval of a new statue, as The Big Lead's Jason McIntrye expressed:
According to Jerry Hinnen of CBSSports.com, the proceeds of a documentary called The People's Joe will also be used to fund the project.
For more information, you can check on the project's page on Facebook. We'll keep you updated if the university responds.