The Big Ten Conference removed Joe Paterno’s name from its football championship trophy after a child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State resulted in the ouster of the football coach and the university’s president.
“We believe that it would be inappropriate to keep Joe Paterno’s name on the trophy,” conference Commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial.”
Paterno, 84, who won more games than any coach in college football’s top division, was fired last week amid a scandal involving his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. University President Graham B. Spanier was also removed from his position.
The trophy was to be called the Stagg-Paterno Trophy in honor of Paterno and Amos Alonzo Stagg, coach at the University of Chicago when it was a founding member of the Park Ridge, Illinois-based conference. Paterno took over as coach at Penn State in 1966.
The trophy, awarded to the winner of the conference title game, will now be known as the Stagg Championship Trophy, the conference said. The Big Ten will stage its inaugural championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.
Penn State is 5-1, best in the conference’s Leaders Division, after its Nov. 12 loss to Nebraska. Tom Bradley is the team’s interim coach.
Sandusky, 67, was released on $100,000 unsecured bail on Nov. 5 after appearing on charges involving sexual abuse of children when he ran The Second Mile, a charitable organization for young people. Jack Raykovitz, who headed Second Mile for 28 years, resigned yesterday, the organization said in a news release.
The charges against Sandusky involve sexual assaults or advances on eight boys from 1994 to 2009, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly.
Athletic Director Timothy Curley, 57, and Gary Schultz, 62, a senior vice president who oversaw the university police, were arraigned on charges of perjury and failing to report the allegations. The university announced on Nov. 7 that Schultz would step down and return to retirement, while Curley would be placed on administrative leave to focus on his defense.
According to the grand jury report, in 2002 Mike McQueary, then a graduate student and now an assistant coach on administrative leave, witnessed Sandusky sexually assault a boy in the shower at the football building. The boy was about 10, the report said, citing McQueary. The report says McQueary told Paterno what he saw -- it doesn’t specify what the coach was told -- and that Paterno told him to speak with Curley and Schultz.
After meeting with McQueary, Schultz and Curley reported to Spanier, who banned Sandusky from bringing children from his foundation into the football building, according to the report. Spanier, 63, told the grand jury he was unaware that the incident was sexual in nature.
Paterno, who recorded 409 wins, said in a Nov. 9 statement that he wished he “had done more” to deal with the scandal.