While there have been calls for the NCAA to levy the death penalty to the Penn State football following the damning Freeh Report that outlined multiple school officials, including then head coach Joe Paterno, roles in covering up the child molestation activities of former Nittany Lion defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, an attorney for the city of Grambling is petitioning the collegiate governing body infraction committee to go a step further.
City attorney Pamela Breedlove sent a three-page letter to the NCAA requesting it vacate several of Paterno’s Division 1 record 409 wins so that former Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson can be the lone wins leader.
“Even though it was done by outside counsel, the Freeh Report was the university’s report,” Breedlove told the Shreveport Times. “It said what their employees, including coach Paterno, did wrong.
“We’re hoping the end result of this is coach Robinson will get his record back so everyone will think a great man holds this record.”
Robinson completed his career with 408 wins.
Breedlove, along with Grambling mayor Edward Jones, believes Paterno covering up child rape is in violation of several NCAA bylaws and constitutional articles.
Current Grambling State head coach Doug Williams, who starred at quarterback under Robinson, is under the impression that Penn State only fired Paterno after the longtime head coach secured the wins record.
“A lot of people have reservations about the timing, ” Williams said. “The NCAA definitely has to review it and look at it. I’m a little biased toward coach Robinson, but the timing, if it had happened at the end of the year, it would have been something different.”
In response to the city’s actions, Grambling State president Frank Pogue released a statement saying the final decision would rest with the NCAA.
“Grambling State University is a proud institutional member of the city of Grambling, Louisiana and a proud member of the NCAA,” said Pogue. “We are as passionate about Coach Eddie Robinson’s legacy as anyone. This is an NCAA matter.”
However, Robinson’s son, Eddie Robinson Jr., said in an interview with HBCU Fan Nation last November following Paterno’s ouster that any action by Penn State or the NCAA to vacate Paterno’s wins as a result of the child sex scandal would be hasty.
“I don’t know about taking away victories,” Robinson Jr. said. “That would be a little premature. “Coach Paterno was one of my heroes. I thought he was a real classy guy.”
Eddie Robinson III, the grandson of the late legendary coach, received messages friends and associates who expressed concerns how the shocking developments at Penn State would impact the all-time wins record.
“I got e-mails, texts from folks, friends who said the record should be upheld,” Robinson III said. “It is funny how Joe Pa eclipsed the record one week, and then everything comes out of the closet. The timing is peculiar.”
Like his father, Robinson III, would have no issue with Paterno keeping the record despite the circumstances.
“If it plays out that way (Paterno’s wins being removed), we’ll accept it. If not, we’ll be OK with that, too. I still have respect for him,” Robinson III said.