The late Joe Paterno is once again major college football's all-time winningest coach, his total boosted back to 409 when the NCAA dropped all sanctions against Penn State Friday.
The NCAA had taken away 111 of Paterno's victories when it sanctioned PSU in the wake of the Sandusky scandal in July of 2012. The coach's family later sued the NCAA, contending it had no right to sanction the university. The family has frequently been criticized for being only concerned about the return of the victories.
After the consent decree that led to the sanctions was invalidated Friday as part of a separate lawsuit, the wins were returned but the family intends to keep fighting.
What's left to be gained?
It's a step in the right direction, Paterno's son, Jay, told ESPN Friday afternoon. But there's obviously more to go in this case.
Jay Paterno was a longtime assistant coach under his father.
Asked to elaborate, he said, There still needs to be some explanation why the NCAA acted out of their jurisdiction, why (NCAA president Mark) Emmert was able to act in the way that he did -- and clearly the documents have proven he was not an honest broker in this situation. So there is still a lot more to explain as to why the reputation of Penn State University and certainly the reputation of an athletic department that was a model program across the board, why that was sacrificed at the alter of expediency.
Emmert and former NCAA executive committee chairman Ed Ray have both been deposed by Paterno estate lawyers. But there is no clear timeframe on when a trial might take place.
The Paterno family issued the following statement Friday:
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 of Trustees and Penn State.
Through our pending litigation, we intend to continue the job of uncovering the full truth in this case.