The bronze statue of late Penn State coach Joe Paterno was removed from Beaver Stadium for the last time Friday morning, sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Workers put the statue into a truck, which then left for an undisclosed location, the paper reports.
The 7-foot, 900-pound statue had been forklifted a week ago and placed it into the lower level of the stadium.
“As we’ve maintained from Day 1, the statue will be stored in a safe and secure location until a permanent location is decided,” Penn State spokesperson David La Torre said, according to the Inquirer.
Penn State’s decision to remove the statue came 10 days after a scathing report by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh found that Paterno, with three other top Penn State administrators, had concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The Freeh report concluded their motive was to shield the university and its football program from negative publicity.
If the statue of Paterno, his right index finger raised in a No. 1 salute, had remained in its current location, Penn State president Rodney Erickson said he believed it would “be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse.”
La Torre, Penn State officials and board member Anthony Lubrano declined to elaborate further on the statue’s location.
• Is Penn State going to change its iconic jerseys? On Tuesday night, in a one-hour conference call with the parents of players, coach Bill O’Brien mentioned that he had talked to Nike with the intention of changing the uniform style, even putting names on the backs of jerseys, a practice Paterno disagreed with. Details of the discussion were first reported by the Reading (Pa.) Eagle.
O’Brien also said the alterations in style might have been requested too late to apply to this season.
But on Friday, O’Brien indicated that several changes, which he did not specify, will be in store when the Nittany Lions take the field at Beaver Stadium for their Sept. 1 season opener against Ohio.
Asked if any change in the uniforms would upset traditionalists among Penn State’s fans, O’Brien replied, “Turn the page.”
“It’s a new era, a new era,” he said at the Big Ten football media interview session. “Changes were made in 1966 probably. Changes are going to be made in 2012 as well. Jump on board, support this team, and support these players.”
O’Brien said changes always have been in the works.
“I’m not the most articulate guy all the time,” he said, “but I can tell you those types of things have been discussed before the NCAA came down with their penalties.”