STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A new poll released Friday shows Pennsylvania’s registered voters favor renaming Penn State’s football stadium in honor of longtime coach Joe Paterno, who died in January.
The Quinnipiac University survey found that 46 percent of those polled thought the school should rename Beaver Stadium, while 40 percent were opposed.
The idea was more strongly backed by those who described themselves as “very or somewhat interested” in college football, and by those over age 65.
Beaver Stadium is named for James Beaver, a Pennsylvania governor of the late 19th century who served on the school’s board of trustees.
Pollsters surveyed nearly 1,300 registered voters over six days earlier this month. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
A movement has percolated for several years to rename the stadium for Paterno, who coached at the school for some six decades. Supporters have also suggested renaming the street leading to Beaver Stadium for him.
The Paterno family name already adorns the library and a spiritual life center on campus. The university has said it is working on plans to memorialize Paterno, who was a living symbol of Penn State before his death from lung cancer.
Paterno was fired by the board of trustees in November, following the arrest of his former longtime lieutenant, Jerry Sandusky, on child sexual abuse charges.
Paterno was not charged with any crime, and prosecutors said he was not considered a target, but he expressed regret about his own handling of the matter and trustees have attributed his dismissal to poor leadership after he was told by a graduate assistant of an alleged case of molestation.
Sandusky, 68, awaits trial in May on 52 charges that he abused 10 boys over 15 years. He remains confined to his home while he awaits trial, and has denied the allegations.
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