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Brown University Reconsidering Its Joe Paterno award
Former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno graduated from Ivy League school Brown University in 1950, but in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal which resulted in his firing, the school is reconsidering an athletics award it named in his honor.
The Joe Paterno ‘50 Award is described as follows on the Brown University website: it is given to the “outstanding first-year varsity male athlete in honor of Joe Paterno, a 1950 Brown graduate who has gone on to a legendary career as head football coach at Penn State University.” A problem with that description is that Paterno’s career may be more legendary for his lack of action with regards to the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal than for his exploits as a head coach.
Certainly, Joe Paterno has the record for most wins for a Division I college coach, at 409. Ironically, he just achieved that record, and then was fired in the last week, as the Sandusky events unfolded.
Joe Paterno played football at Brown. He still shares the school record for career interceptions with 14.
Brown University spokeswoman Marisa Quinn said the school is “reviewing the matter to consider how best to address it.” It is unclear what that means, but things do not look good for the future of Paterno ‘50 Award.
Meanwhile, Art Joukowsky, chairman of the Brown University Sports Foundation that raises money to support the college’s athletics, as well as Brown’s chancellor emeritus, said that he does not want Brown University to cut ties to Joe Paterno. “Loyalty means a great deal. You don’t just cut it off because something goes wrong.”
However, Joukowsky added something that many have said: while Paterno is not a “guilty party, he should have followed up.” Even Paterno himself has admitted “he should have done more.”
The Joe Paterno ‘50 Award is not limited to football. Players in track and field, ice hockey, water polo, soccer, baseball, tennis, wrestling and yes, football, have been awarded the honor since it was introduced in 1991. Among the recipients are former NFL players Chass Gessner and Sean Morey, according to a Brown University Web page about the award.
On Saturday, Penn State played the first game their first game with Joe Paterno on the coaching staff since 1949, and their first without Joe Paterno as the head coach since 1965. The No. 12 ranked Nittany Lions lost to the No. 17 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers 17-14.
It was Senior Day, and despite the dishonor heaped upon Paterno in the wake of the Sandusky story, the team desperately wanted to win the game for their former head coach. But after falling behind 17-0, the team couldn’t quite complete a comeback, despite having the ball twice in the last four minutes of the game with a chance to at least tie the score and send the game into overtime.
The Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) can still win the Big Ten Leaders Division. They have games remaining against Ohio State and second-place Wisconsin (8-2, 4-2).
By Michael Santo, Huliq