Paternoville is no more.
Days after the Freeh report implicated the late Joe Paterno in the cover-up surrounding the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal at Penn State, the student organization that runs the tent village set up outside Gate A at Beaver Stadium before home games announced it has changed its name. Paternoville has become Nittanyville.
The organization, renamed the Nittanyville Coordinating Committee, released a statement Monday night announcing the change.
It reads in part:
Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, Penn State students have camped out at Beaver Stadium in order to guarantee themselves a rail-side seat -- though students hardly ever sit -- for a home football game. In 2005, a student termed the encampment "Paternoville," and the name stuck through the 2011 season.
"Now, it's a new era of Nittany Lion football," committee president Troy Weller said. "And by changing the name to Nittanyville we want to return the focus to the overall team and the thousands of students who support it. We thank the Paterno family for their gracious assistance and support over the last several years."
The group added that it will donate a portion of its fundraising proceeds to the newly established Center for the Protection of Children based at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. Kudos to them for doing so.
The Paternoville name change already is sparking debate among the Penn State community. Some point out that it was set up to represent the good things Paterno did during his many decades at the school. "If anything related to Joe Paterno should be allowed to keep its name or place [excluding the library for which he built with his own donations], Paternoville should have been it," Black Shoe Diaries' Dan Vecellio writes. A Paternoville Facebook page has been set up, describing itself as a group that upholds the "memory of the Penn State student tradition of Paternoville which was disgraced by its student officers who cowardly changed names post Freeh report."
Can't say I'm surprised the Paternoville group changed its name, but I also expected some backlash from those who still support the late Penn State coach.