The decision whether to remove or move Joe Paterno statue is expected to be made by the school president Rodney Erickson within the next three days, a source familiar with Erickson’s plans told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
Much of the consternation on what to do about the statue stems from how the NCAA will perceive the actions. The school is fearful of the governing body leveling the “death penalty” on the football program.
Trustees said on the show that the board had a spirited discussion about the statue in a conference call Thursday night — the same call in which the resignation of former board chairman Steve Garban was discussed. But the decision is not theirs, they said.
Various tweets Friday morning said the board had voted and/or made a decision about the statue and that it would be removed this weekend. If the board had taken a vote during the call, it would have violated state law, which prohibits votes from being taken outside of declared board meetings.
The trustees who spoke Friday morning said board members did discuss possibilities for the statue, including moving it from the stadium area, perhaps to the library on campus that bears the Paterno name or the Penn State All Sports Museum near the stadium. Board spokesman David LaTorre declined to comment Friday morning.
The trustees have been concerned this week that the NCAA will hand down an extreme punishment, possibly the death penalty for its football program for its “loss of institutional control” during the Sandusky years. Dealing with the statue issue, and the resignation of Garban, has been needed to show the public the board was serious about “moving forward,” one trustee said.
“It’s a highly sensitive decision,” another trustee said Friday. “The decision is a symbolic one. We have to be very careful about what kind of message we send.”