Scott here, writing this post while watching the NFL playoff games Sunday. The Chiefs game – doesn’t Taylor Swift get enough publicity? Every time her boyfriend Travis Kelce makes a catch the journalists at CBS cut to a shot of Tay-tay celebrating in her overcrowded booth. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

Speaking of football…

It’s time. Actually it’s way past time.

Penn State football fans, hundreds of thousands of them, have been waiting for too many years.

No, not for another national championship – but heck yeah, that one too…

No, we mean for justice to finally be served.

When will Joe Paterno finally receive the tremendous acclaim that he more than earned? Why are we still waiting?

A man who gave 60 years of his life to the university he loved. Forty five of those years as the veritable face of PSU. Not the person who ran the university, that’s the President’s job. But the most recognizable person that everyone knew.

A person of integrity, who fought for the idea of the STUDENT-athlete. The Grand Experiment. And for supporting his players, not throwing them aside if injured or no longer a starter. Coach Deion Sanders at Colorado took over there last year and told most of the prior players to hit the road, jack. Joepa would have surrounded himself with good assistant coaches and gotten to work making those existing players better. 

Loyalty meant something to him. Tragically the university “leaders” in 2011 had no idea what that word meant. In a panic driven frenzy they fired one of the greatest people in PSU history – and they did it over the phone. There’s low – and then there’s unbelievably low. 

A person who, with loving wife Sue, donated millions of their own dollars for the Paterno Library. Not another sports facility, or a lounge to schmooze big wigs or fancy school donors. Instead they donated to give a much needed expansion to the university’s library, a place of learning for everyone. Nothing was more important to Joepa.

It’s been 12 years since that dark unforgiveable event, and 12 years since his death. Did that despicable act eventually kill him? Officially he passed because of lung cancer – was it really from a broken heart? All those decades, and then thrown out like trash.

And it didn’t take very long to realize that Joe had nothing to do with any of whatever Jerry Sandusky might have done over the years. Nothing. With the infamous Mike McQueary incident in the shower, Joe did exactly what he should have done – as football coach who wasn’t the witness to the shower event he alerted his boss, the athletic director, to check it out. Sandusky was the retired assistant coach who was visiting that day. The AD is the person in charge despite the jealous haters who saw Joe as GOD of Penn State. The person who actually ran the college – bet that was a surprise to Old Main. 

It’s been too many years since Joe has been completely exonerated – and still we wait for the athletic department and the university to finally honor the man who not only won a record 409 football games, three national championships (yes, we count 1994 despite that stupid vote,) graduated so many of his players when other schools made a mockery of sports and academics, and drew so much positive attention to a university that grew tremendously during his tenure in part because of the pride people had in his belief of athletics and academics. 

To Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi, to athletic director Pat Kraft, and even to current football coach James Franklin – why are we still waiting? WHY? It’s shameful to all of Nittany Nation that one of the greatest men in the history of the game and the university is still being shunned by his own people. A FEW of his own people but in the positions to finally make this right.

The upcoming 2024 football season can be the time to right this wrong. What could be done?

  • Choose a game early this fall to honor his memory and accomplishments. No, not the spring game but an actual game. Maybe the home opener September 7 vs. Bowling Green, a game that should be over at halftime. Not a distraction but a celebration of a life well lived. 
  • Name the field at Beaver Stadium as Joseph V. Paterno Field, as so many other universities have done for former great coaches. Have it permanently imprinted at ground level to always be seen. Unveil the new name at the game. 
  • If the statue still exists, bring it out of the basement and create a display at the All Sports Museum at the stadium. No, not outside the stadium again. I always thought Joe quietly hated that. 
  • Honor Suepa at the game, and Jaypa too and the family. Judging by the ovation Suepa received at the Peach Bowl game, THIS ovation would be heard in neighboring counties. Fans WANT this. 
  • Establish a new scholarship program for high school students called the Joseph Vincent Paterno Scholarship. NOT for athletes but for students who show need and who value education. For multiple students each year. Paid by the university to cover 12 years of neglect. 

We could keep going because what Joepa brought to Penn State could never be matched in return. The 2024 football home opener is over seven months away, plenty of time to plan.

Why are decades of loyal Penn State fans and university supporters still waiting? PSU brass, it’s time to finally correct this egregious error. Announce during the spring game, do the correction in the fall. Erase 12 years of pain. 

It’s time. It’s finally time. 

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