Penn State University’s Board of Trustees has settled “outstanding issues” with the family of Joe Paterno. The settled claims comes nearly eight years after the release of the Louis Freeh Report, which looked into the child sex abuse scandal involving disgraced former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Board chairman Mark Dambly announced that Penn State University and the Paterno family has reached a resolution.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the leadership of Penn State, I am pleased to announce that we have reached a resolution of the outstanding issues between the University and the Paternos,” Dambly said in a statement. “As part of the resolution, the Paternos have dropped all outstanding claims and the University has agreed to cover certain of the Paterno family’s expenses.”
Paterno spent his entire coaching career at Penn State, serving as an assistant from 1950-65 before becoming the head coach in 1966. He stayed in that position through the 2011 season, winning 409 career games and posting a 74.6 win percentage. He led Penn State to two national championships, three B1G titles and 37 bowl games.
After news broke of the scandal involving Sandusky in 2011, Paterno was terminated in the middle of the season. He died on Jan. 22, 2012, at the age of 85.
“Many differing reports and statements have been issued with respect to the events that have unfolded at Penn State over the last decade,” Dambly said. “Many of those reports and statements, including the Freeh Report, contain opinions about individuals and matters that are not shared by the University. The University’s examination and response to these reports has been with a single purpose and that is to implement improvements in university policies and procedures, including those related to the protection of children, compliance, governance and safety. In implementing more than one hundred recommendations, we have become a stronger institution. The victims of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse suffered extraordinary harm that cannot be undone. But, as an institution, and as individuals, we can ensure that we never forget the victims of abusive behavior. Our commitment to these reforms will never waver.
“The University recognizes and takes great pride in the many contributions made by Joe Paterno, not just to the football program, but to the academic advancement of this institution and to countless charitable causes in the community as well. We are pleased that the Paterno family has indicated that they will not support public or private advocacy efforts to revisit the past, through further review or release of investigative materials, or otherwise.”
Paterno’s wife Sue also released a statement on the resolution.
“I am pleased to announce that we have reached a resolution of the issues between our family and Penn State,” Sue Paterno said. “The last eight years have been difficult, made more so by the opinions in the Freeh Report, which my family and I believe was deeply flawed, reached unsupported conclusions about Joe and unjustly criticized the culture of Penn State. The University has made clear that Mr. Freeh’s opinions about Joe were never endorsed by Penn State. By confirming this position and reaching this understanding, the leadership of Penn State has acted in the best interests of the University, and for this I am grateful.”