HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A poll says Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly want Penn State to put back a statue of former football coach Joe Paterno that was removed after Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation conviction.
The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday said the majority – 59 percent to 25 percent – favored restoring the statue to a prominent place on campus.
Pennsylvanians also strongly support a recent deal between Penn State and the NCAA that restored 112 wins to the football team and Paterno’s status as winningest coach in major college football.
Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium was removed in July 2012, shortly before the university and the NCAA entered into a consent decree that invalidated the wins, fined the school $60 million and temporarily took away some football scholarships.
The consent decree sprung from the scandal that erupted when Sandusky, a retired football assistant coach, was accused of sexually abusing boys, some of them on Penn State’s campus.
It had eliminated all wins from 1998 – when police investigated a mother’s complaint that Sandusky had showered with her son – through 2011, Paterno’s final season as head coach after six decades with the team and the year Sandusky was charged.
In September, the NCAA announced it was ending the school’s ban on post-season play and restored its full complement of football scholarships earlier than scheduled.
The restored wins include 111 under Paterno, who died in 2012, and the final victory of 2011, when the team was coached by defensive coach Tom Bradley. It returns Paterno’s record to 409-136-3.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,023 residents between Jan. 22 and Feb. 1. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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