Penn State AD apologizes for tweet about hockey helmet '409' decals

Nick Bromberg

Penn State's athletic director apologized for her weekend tweet about the Penn State hockey team's decision to wear "409" decals on its helmets in the wake of the NCAA announcement about the football team's restored wins.

As part of a proposed settlement announced Friday, the NCAA agreed to restore the vacated wins that were part of the Sandusky scandal punishments. The victories again officially give former coach Joe Paterno 409 wins and make him the winningest coach in FBS history.

Athletic director Sandy Barbour called the tribute "inappropriate and insensitive" in a Twitter reply to an inquiry about it. (Hat tip to Penn Live)

On Monday, she apologized for the tweet on WBLF radio in State College. Via Penn Live:

"First of all, I want to apologize for the tweet," Barbour told hosts Jerry Fisher, Travis Johnson, Tim Owen, and Jacob Kaucher. "This is far too important a subject to vet on a casual [comment]; or in social media. I'll use my own words. It was inappropriate and insensitive of me to do that from a tweet standpoint."

Barbour is in her first year as the Nittany Lions' athletic director. The stickers were worn for Penn State hockey's Friday night game only.

"But from the standpoint of my concern, and why I've had conversations with our coaches about this, is because this is a moment to celebrate, and I knew before I came to Penn State [from California] that 409 meant success with honor, that 409 means far more to this community and this university than wins," Barbour said.

"But, having come from the outside, I know that's not necessarily what everyone else knows and thinks, and frankly, in my five months here, I have learned so much more about Penn State and what an incredible place it is. I want the rest of the world to see and feel the things I have seen, and I thought it was incredibly important in this moment that we pause to make sure we got it right."

While the number of now-official-again wins has gotten the majority of attention in the wake of the settlement announcement, it isn't the only development. As part of the proposal, the $60 million fine that Penn State was assessed as part of the punishment will go to child sexual abuse prevention programs and treatment for those affected by child sexual abuse.

For more Penn State news, visit

- - - - - - -

Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!