NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Monday the collegiate governing body would be vacating wins from former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno stemming from his role in covering up child abuse crimes committed by then defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Edward J. Ray, the NCAA executive committee chairman and president of Oregon State, said, “Not only does the NCAA have the authority to act in this case, we also have the responsibility.”
With the vacated wins, former head coach Joe Paterno is no longer the most winningest head coach in NCAA football history. Of his 409 victories, Paterno has been stripped of 111 wins, putting him 12th on the all-time list with 298.
Bobby Bowden now becomes the Division-I leader while Eddie Robinson reclaims his position as the most winningest head coach in NCAA history.
The vacated wins date back to 1998, when the Freeh report shows leaders at Penn State were notified of Sandusky’s actions. The Freeh report states that leaders–including the president, vice president, athletic director and head football coach–did not act appropriately when they were alerted of possible child sexual abuse with the assistant head coach. Emmert referred to those violations as “perverse and unconscionable.”
“We are proud that coach Eddie Robinson will remain the winningest football coach in the history of college football,” said Grambling State president Frank Pogue. “As the Grambling family has said all along, regardless of the action of the NCAA, Eddie G. Robinson will forever be remembered as the coach with more football victories than anyone else.”
Current Dallas attorney, and former Tigers football player Daryl K. Washington under Robinson, maintained all along his beloved coach should be the lone Division 1 all-time wins record holder.
“The NCAA made an important statement that academics is more important than athletics,” Washington said. “The NCAA saw right through what Penn State was doing.”
Washington, who started a Facebook group entitled “I Support Coach Eddie G. Robinson and believe his record should stand! in the hours after Sandusky’s arrest and Paterno’s firing, said Robinson would have never endangered the lives of children in pursuit of football achievements.
“He would not have sat back just to win games,” he said.
Eddie Robinson’s son, Eddie Robinson Jr., however, is conflicted about the NCAA’s decision to strip Paterno of wins.
“It is hard to be happy about something that occurred through someone else demise,” Robinson Jr. said. “I don’t know if I could be happy about it. ”
Being a former athlete himself, Robinson Jr. said he could understand the somber emotions current and former Penn State players might be experiencing in attempting to come to grips with their on-field achievements now stricken from the record books.
“If I were a (Penn State) player, I would be asking people what did that (child molestation) have to do with me? “My heart goes out to the victims and the Paterno family.”