Penn St. gets wins restored, Paterno again winningest coach
STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (AP) — Penn State’s football team is regaining 112 wins wiped out during a child molestation scandal and the late Joe Paterno has been restored as the winningest coach in major U.S. college football history.
The NCAA, which governs the booming American collegiate sports system, announced the new settlement with the school weeks before a scheduled trial on the legality of a 2012 consent decree it will replace.
The consent decree sprung from the scandal that erupted when Jerry Sandusky, a retired football assistant coach, was accused of sexually abusing boys, some of them on Penn State’s campus.
It had eliminated all wins from 1998 — when police investigated a mother’s complaint that Sandusky had showered with her son — through 2011, Paterno’s final season as head coach after six decades with the team and the year Sandusky was charged.
The NCAA board of governors approved the settlement, said association spokesman Bob Williams. The Penn State approved it Friday afternoon.
Paterno put a once obscure state school on the American sports map, earning a place in his sport’s Hall of Fame. His rapid downfall stunned sports fans and left many Penn State alums shaken, especially after Paterno died soon after the scandal broke in 2012.
The announcement follows the NCAA’s decision last year to reinstate the school’s full complement of football scholarships and let Penn State participate in post-season play, and comes just days after a federal judge declined to rule on the consent decree’s constitutionality.
The NCAA said continuing the litigation would only delay the distribution of funds to sex abuse survivors.
In September, the NCAA announced it was ending the school’s ban on post-season play and restored its full complement of football scholarships earlier than scheduled.
The restored wins include 111 under Paterno, and the final victory of 2011, when the team was coached by defensive coach Tom Bradley. It returns Paterno’s record to 409-136-3.
The consent decree had also called for Penn State to provide $60 million to fight child abuse and combat its effects. The lawsuit scheduled for trial next month began as an effort by two state officials to enforce a state law that required the money to remain in Pennsylvania.
Under the settlement, the money will remain in Pennsylvania.
As part of the new proposal, Penn State acknowledges the NCAA acted in good faith.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts and he is now serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. He maintains his innocence.
In a statement, Paterno’s family called the announcement of a potential settlement “a great victory for everyone who has fought for the truth in the Sandusky tragedy.”