Alumna to Host “Joe Out” Before UMass Game

“What about Joe?”

That’s what Laurie Anne Stanell — and thousands of others — have been asking the last two days, after the NCAA historically ruled to strike down its bowl ban on Penn State, but elected to not return Joe Paterno’s 111 vacated wins.

With that, and two years of “disappointment” over the treatment of the former football coach, Stanell has elected to honor the coach in the way she deems most appropriate: She’ll host a “Joe Out” tailgate at Beaver Stadium before September 20th’s home game against UMass.

“Eighty percent of alumni want Joe to be honored in some way,” she said. “I think we need civil attention — nothing nuts — to honor Joe but also be there for the team.”

According to the event’s Facebook page, attendees are encouraged to dress in Paterno-inspired clothing.

Stanell will be wearing a simple Paterno shirt adorned with three quotes.

“He was a simple man,” she explained.

A dentist by day, Stanell — a fourth generation Penn Stater — recently ran for a spot on Penn State’s Board of Trustees, but was not elected. A member of the Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship Facebook group, she feels that the disconnect between the Board, alumni base, and current student body is too strong. As such, she finds her Joe Out “a good way to start” mending the differences.

“The NCAA is saying Joe acted appropriately. We’re on the cusp here,” she said. “JoePa is a legend here. You can’t negate the man.”

Stanell drew a large part of her inspiration for the event from the University of Alabama, where many tailgaters sport Bear Bryant hats.

Nonetheless, and unlike many PS4RS extremists, Stanell was thrilled with Monday’s proceedings, loved the reaction from the students, and respectfully acknowledges everyone has a different opinion on the coach’s legacy.

“I do believe the truth is still out there,” she said. “But I love the team, I love the coach, and I haven’t forgotten that they’ve put Penn State on the map again.”

And she’s ready to call out the NCAA.

“Now that you’ve come out with these little changes to your rules, its time,” she said. “Here we are, together.”

Stanell expects a big crowd for next Saturday’s Joe Out, though as of Wednesday afternoon only 75 people had RSVP’d to attend. She traveled to Ireland for Penn State’s victory over Central Florida, and pitched her plan overseas.

“Everyone was on board with the idea,” she said.

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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