Even though the guy’s career ended in a bad way (though it met legal requirements), Paterno should be judged on his full career. His major accomplishment is helping drive Penn State into the higher echelon of public universities. Yes, he did help in that area. He actually is part of the reason why Big Ten schools are not going to really compete at the highest level of college football…academics are more important to those universities than the results of football games.
What do I mean by academics?
The Association of American Universities is the leading association of academic research schools in the nation. The only school in the Big Ten NOT in the Association of American Universities is Nebraska (which it once was before some rules changes and maneuvering). Despite this, Nebraska leads the NCAA in Academic All-Americans with 291. The next closest is Notre Dame with 222.
The only SEC schools in the AAU are Vanderbilt and Florida.
We will continue to see Big Ten schools crank out graduates ready to perform on the global stage, while SEC schools aside from Vanderbilt will continue to crank out athletes and people who work for people who graduate from Big Ten schools. The Big Ten will continue to be important to college football, mostly because Big Ten grads can afford to travel and buy tickets.
Hey, you say you care about athletics and academics? Weren’t you telling the truth?