Joe Paterno’s legacy further damaged by NCAA unprecedented penalties

Jeff Eisenberg
Dr. Saturday

When Penn State removed the 7-foot, 900-pound statue of Joe Paterno from in front of its football stadium on Sunday morning, it represented the metaphorical destruction of the legendary coach's legacy.

Two days later, NCAA President Mark Emmert took a hammer to what's left.

Part of the unprecedented penalties the NCAA levied against Penn State on Monday was that the football program would have to vacate all 112 of its victories from 1998-2011 — 111 of which came with Paterno as head coach.  That means Grambling's Eddie Robinson will replace Paterno as Division I's all-time wins leader and Florida State's Bobby Bowden will regain the title of major college football's all-time winningest coach.

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The irony of the NCAA's punishment is Penn State will keep nearly all its victories from the 30 years convicted child sex offender Jerry Sandusky was an assistant coach. During the years in which he served as defensive line coach, linebackers coach and defensive coordinator, Penn State amassed 309 victories, only 19 of which were vacated by the NCAA's ruling.

Memories of Paterno's accomplishments will live on in the memories of longtime Penn State supporters but not in the annals of college football. Here's a look at the damage the NCAA's penalties inflicted on Paterno in the record books. 

Joe Paterno's 409 wins were No. 1 in Division I football history. Now he ranks fifth with 298.

1. Eddie Robinson (Grambling) 408
2. Bobby Bowden (Florida State) 377
3. Bear Bryant (Alabama) 323
4. Glenn Scobey Warner (Temple, among others) 319
5. Joe Paterno (Penn State) 298

Paterno's former total: 24 (No. 1)
Paterno's current total: 18

Paterno's former total: 3 (1994, 2005, 2008)
Paterno's current total: 1

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