Construction crews arrived at Penn State early Sunday morning to remove the bronze Joe Paterno statue from the front of Beaver Stadium and place it in an undisclosed secure location, ESPN.com reports.
The project began at 6:15 a.m., when workers blocked off access to the statue with a fence wrapped in a blue tarp, according to USA Today. By 8:20 a.m., a forklift had carried the 900-pound statue into the stadium.
In what appears to be a compromise for Paterno's detractors and his supporters, the coach's name will remain on the university's library. Joe and Sue Paterno contributed more than $4 million for the library's construction.
Rumors of a decision made about the fate of the statue swirled Friday, with no indication of how Penn State President Rodney Erickson would rule or when the action would be carried out.
In a statement posted on the Penn State website, Erickson said, "I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno's statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our University and beyond. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse."
The removal of the statue comes in the wake of the published findings from Louis Freeh's investigation of the events surrounding Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children on the grounds of the college. The report is highly critical of Penn State administrators, including Paterno, accusing them of putting the school's reputation ahead of the safety of children.
ESPN also reports that the NCAA has reviewed the Freeh report and will announce what a source called severe penalties against Penn State. However, according to ESPN's source, the sanctions will not include the "death penalty," the name for a possible one-year suspension of the football program.