Joe Paterno's statue could be restored outside Penn State stadium

Restoration of Joe Paterno statue at Penn State is a topic of discussion for Nittany Lions

The NCAA in January returned 112 wins to Penn State that had been taken away as part of a slew of penalties following the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

The next thing to return to Penn State could be the 7-foot bronze statue of former Coach Joe Paterno, who lead the Nittany Lions on the field during Sandusky's time as an assistant. 

"Certainly, you can understand arguments on both sides of the issue," Penn State Alumni Assn. Executive Director Roger Williams told USA Today. "But there's no question that there's great support among the university family, and among alumni in particular, who would at some point want to see a restoration of the statue."

For now, the statue remains in hiding since it was taken down in 2012. Any actions to return it to its place outside Beaver Stadium haven't been officially announced.

"A decision is not imminent," Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement. "I will follow a process of deliberation and discussion that will take time, and until then, I don't plan to speak publicly about it."

Sandusky, 71, was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse and is currently serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in a Pennslyvania prison for the abuse.

Paterno is the winningest coach in college football history with the January return of 111 of those 112 wins (one wasn't officially his). He had 409 career victories from 1966 to 2011. 

Paterno resigned from his post in November 2011 and passed away two months later.

"As much as I think everyone of us believe that we need to be sensitive to and need to provide everything possible for victims, I think there's a strong sense here that at the same time that doesn't mean this university can't at the same time celebrate what is excellent here and we can't celebrate who Coach Paterno was," Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said.

Penn State was initially fined $60 million and banned from postseason play for four years in addition to the loss of scholarships and the vacating of 112 wins. 

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

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