Joe Paterno statue removed as NCAA prepares to sanction Penn State

joe-paterno-statue-removed-gi.jpgEarly Sunday (July 22) morning, the statue of Joe Paterno -- patriarch of Penn State football -- was removed from outside the school's Beaver Stadium and taken to a "secure location." The NCAA also plans to levy "corrective and punitive measures" against the university in an announcement to come on Monday morning.

The removal was done in the pre-dawn hours behind a temporary chain link fence covered with blue tarp to discourage onlookers. A forklift moved the 900-pound bronze statue to the lower level of the stadium as a group of about 100 students nearby chanted "We are Penn State," reports ESPN. The school says the library will continue to bear his name.

Hours after the removal, the Paterno family issued a statement saying the action "does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community."

Sandusky, one of Paterno's longtime assistant coaches, was found guilty on multiple counts of child molestation and a recent investigation accused Paterno and other Penn State officials of burying several child abuse allegations against Sandusky.

NCAA President Mark Emmert has not ruled out the possibility of shutting down the Penn State football program completely.

Above: Students look through a chain link fence at the spot where the Joe Paterno statue once stood.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images