Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the school will honor the legacy of former football coach Joe Paterno, and that she learns more "every week, every day, every month" about what she perceives as his positive impact on the university.
Paterno's legacy at the school was clouded after former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was indicted for sexually abusing a number of children on and off Penn State's campus, with critics saying Paterno didn't do enough after he was alerted of Sandusky's actions in 2002. In 2012, Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse.
Paterno was fired in 2011 during his 46th season as Penn State's coach, and he died the following January.
Barbour told The Philadelphia Inquirer that while there were still questions about the school's role in the scandal, the school would celebrate the longtime coach's values and legacy.
"To me, Coach Paterno brought a ... value of combining athletics and academic success that I've not seen anywhere else, the idea of success with honor," Barbour said.
She also said that the Freeh Report, commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees, was flawed in its characterization of Penn State's "culture."
"I believe, based on what I've seen, that that's a mischaracterization," she said, according to the Inquirer, "that there was a problem with Penn State's culture. I don't buy that."
In the aftermath of the scandal, the university has paid more than $60 million in settlements to Sandusky's victims. The university fired president Graham Spanier, and athletic director Timothy Curley parted ways with the school.
Penn State was given a series of major penalties by the NCAA, with the team's postseason ban being lifted last season.
Barbour said the university plans to celebrate Paterno when the time is right.
"I have no doubt that at the right time, as some of the legal issues have been sorted through ... Penn State will honor not only Joe Paterno's legacy but the Paterno family's legacy," Barbour said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. "We'll know when it's time."
- Stanley Kay