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Joe Paterno statue: Conflicting reports on Penn State's plans

UPDATE: ESPN.com's Don Van Natta Jr. is reporting the final decision on the statue will be made by university president Rodney Erickson and not the school's Board of Trustees.

UPDATE: The university is reportedly telling donors that a final decision on Joe Paterno's statue has not been made.

[tweet https://twitter.com/KimJonesSports/status/226357299059503106]

ORIGINAL: Penn State plans to remove its statue of Joe Paterno from campus this weekend, reports NFL Network's Kimberly Jones on Twitter. Bonnie Bernstein also reported that the statue would come down.

[tweet https://twitter.com/KimJonesSports/status/226331763457261568]

[tweet https://twitter.com/BonnieBernstein/status/226336076581711872]

A university spokesman told The Dan Patrick Show producer Paul Pabst that he was unaware of a decision about the statue.

[tweet https://twitter.com/PaulPabst/status/226339758379499520]

The statue has become a point of contention in the aftermath of the Freeh Report, which said university leaders, including Paterno and former president Graham Spanier, had shown “total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”

The report's allegations would make it appear Paterno wasn't forthcoming in his grand jury testimony in the case, in particular in his assertions that he was unaware of 1998 sexual abuse allegations against his then-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. (Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of sexual abuse.)

An ESPN.com report last Sunday said that the school had decided to let the statue stand. The school released a statement that evening denying that a decision had been made.

“Contrary to various reports, neither the Board of Trustees nor University Administration has taken a vote or made a decision regarding the Joe Paterno statue at Beaver Stadium,” the statement read.

The statue had been a rallying point for many last fall when the legendary football coach was fired by the university on Nov. 9 in the aftermath of Sandusky's arrest.

The statue's place on campus has come under fire recently. Some argued that it was another reminder of the way that football pervaded the culture of the university.

Since the Freeh Report's release, "Paternoville," the name given to the tents set up by students waiting outside Beaver Stadium before home football games, was changed to "Nittanyville." Brown University, Paterno's alma mater, took the late coach's name off the trophy given to its top male athlete.

A small plane also flew over campus with a banner reading, "Take the statue down or we will.” In response, a group of students started a vigil to keep watch over the statue.

(To see a picture of the Paterno statue and pictures of statues of other sports figures, check out this gallery.) 

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