Poll finds Pennsylvanians support restoring Joe Paterno statue

Joe Paterno statue
A statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno stands outside Beaver Stadium on the campus of Penn State University in July 2012.
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Does Happy Valley want to see the return of Joe Paterno?

According to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, the vast majority of Pennsylvanians want Penn State to restore the bronze statue of Paterno that was removed from campus after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child molestation charges.

In its poll, Quinnipiac found that 59% of respondents were in favor of restoring the statue of Paterno, who recently had his record 409 career coaching wins restored by the NCAA. Only 25% of those polled said the statue should not be restored.

Quinnipiac, which is located in Hamden, Conn., surveyed 1,023 Pennsylvania residents between Jan. 22 and Feb. 1. It said the survey's margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Paterno's statue was removed from outside Beaver Stadium in July 2012 after Penn State consented to have 112 wins (1998-2011) taken away by the NCAA. The university also was fined $60 million and lost scholarships.

However, the NCAA and Penn State reached a deal last month that restored Paterno's wins and allowed the university to pay $60 million instead to activities and programs for the prevention of child sexual abuse.

Since the NCAA's decision to restore Paterno's wins, there has been growing support to restore the statue.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. He worked as an assistant under Paterno for 31 years after playing for the Nittany Lions in the 1960s.

Paterno resigned in November 2011 shortly after Sandusky's arrest and died of complications from lung cancer two months later at age 85.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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