Joe Paterno once again is the winningest coach in major college football history.
The NCAA board of governors and the Penn State board approved Friday a settlement with Penn State that restores mores than 100 football victories for the Nittany Lions, thus putting the late Paterno back on top of the coaching ranks with 409 wins.
The 112 victories -- 111 of which came under Paterno -- were vacated as part of a 2012 consent decree that imposed sanctions on Penn State in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. Sandusky was a longtime assistant coach for Paterno.
Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and state Treasurer Rob McCord sued the NCAA over the legality of the consent decree. The settlement resolves the lawsuit and avoids a state-court trial scheduled in the coming weeks.
Also under the deal, the university is to pay a $60-million fine to address child abuse within Pennsylvania.
“While others will focus on the return of wins, our top priority is on protecting, educating and nurturing young people,” said Harris Pastides, University of South Carolina president and member of the NCAA board.
The Paterno family said in a statement:
Today is a great victory for everyone who has fought for the truth in the Sandusky tragedy. The repeal of the consent decree and the return of the wins to the University and Joe Paterno confirm that the NCAA and the Board of Trustees acted prematurely and irresponsibly in the unprecedented sanctions the NCAA imposed on the University, the players, coaches and the community.
This case should always have been about the pursuit of the truth, not the unjust vilification of the culture of a great institution and the scapegoating of coaches, players and administrators who were never given a chance to defend themselves.
For nearly three years, everyone associated with Penn State has had to bear the mark of shame placed upon the institution by the NCAA. It was a grievously wrong action, precipitated by panic, rather than a thoughtful and careful examination of the facts.
Fortunately, through the tenacious efforts of Senator Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord, a large measure of the wrong has been righted. This is a major victory in our continued pursuit of justice for Penn State. The victims deserve the truth as do those who have been smeared by the deeply flawed Freeh report, which served as the basis of the actions by the Board Trustees and Penn State.
Through our pending litigation, we intend to continue the job of uncovering the full truth in this case.