Report: Paternos turned away offer

Updated: April 23, 2012, 3:10 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Penn State officials, in an attempt to get the family of Joe Paterno to sign away its right to sue the school, offered to rename Beaver Stadium after the late coach, The Patriot-News has reported, citing a source close to the family.

But the family said no.

Paterno had never been keen on the stadium bearing his name, an idea that "has always been a fan-driven matter. It was never important to Joe," the source told the Harrisburg, Pa., newspaper.

[+] EnlargeBeaver Stadium
Rob Christy/US PresswireJoe Paterno had never been keen on Penn State's stadium bearing his name, an idea that "has always been a fan-driven matter," a source told The Patriot-News, a Harrisburg, Pa., newspaper.

But it would still be "a tremendous and humbling honor," the source said.

Penn State wasn't granted the release, according to a family lawyer. But the school said last week it had agreed to provide millions in payments and benefits to the estate and family members under Paterno's employment contract.

A school spokesman, Bill Mahon, said Monday that university attorneys did not discuss the naming issue with Paterno representatives in the course of wrapping up the contract. A person familiar with the issue told The Associated Press no formal offer was ever made.

Paterno died in January at 85 after a brief bout with lung cancer, two-and-a-half months after he was fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Paterno spent six decades at Penn State and 46 seasons as head coach, winning two national championships and becoming the face of the university.

The school turned over four checks on Thursday worth more than $3 million for bonuses that covered the season, bowl game and entire career, a university spokeswoman said.

While the school said in a news release the total value of the package was "over $5.5 million," added together the various elements are worth about $6.7 million.

A breakdown provided by Penn State included the use by Paterno's family of a Beaver Stadium suite for 25 years -- a deal valued at $1.5 million -- and $900,000 from television and radio revenue from last season.

Paterno family lawyer Wick Sollers issued a statement on Thursday saying there has been no settlement but rather "a straightforward payment of moneys indisputably owed to the Paterno estate. The university had requested the family agree to a full release in return for the payments under the contract. That request was declined and no release was signed."

Without a release, Paterno's estate still could sue under the contract or some other reason, if it wishes.

Mahon described it as the university and Paterno's estate finalizing the remaining payments that were due the longtime coach.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE