‘We’ll Know When It’s Time’: Barbour Talks Honoring Paterno

Athletic Director Sandy Barbour sat down with The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Editorial Board on Tuesday and talked about Joe Paterno, his legacy, and plans to honor him.

Over the past nine months Barbour says she learned “every week, every day, every month” about Paterno’s positive and lasting influence. “To me, Coach Paterno brought a value of combining athletics and academic success that I’ve not seen anywhere else, the idea of success with honor,” Barbour told The Inquirer.

Unsurprisingly, Barbour says Paterno’s former players have echoed the same sentiment. “They don’t talk about the football part. They don’t talk about the national championships. They talk about him, his insistence on making them into good citizens and good men. That’s what they learned from him.”

Of course, many Penn State alums are waiting for the university to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to Paterno. While both Barbour and President Eric Barron have criticized the Freeh report for its broad condemnation of Penn State’s culture under Paterno in a way that their respective predecessors Dave Joyner and Rodney Erickson refused to, and Barbour, in particular, has been complimentary of Paterno, the university has not honored the former coach in any meaningful way since he was unceremoniously fired three years ago.

“I believe, based on what I’ve seen, that that’s a mischaracterization — that there was a problem with Penn State’s culture,” Barbour told The Inquirer. “I don’t buy that.”

Barron has said in previous interviews there will be a time and place to talk about the Paterno issue. As far as honoring Paterno’s legacy, Barbour — like her boss — says she’s waiting for the legal trials to be over.

“I have no doubt that at the right time, as some of the legal issues have been sorted through…Penn State will honor not only Joe Paterno’s legacy but the Paterno family’s legacy,” Barbour told The Inquirer. “We’ll know when it’s time.”

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