STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Not everybody is happy after the NCAA agreed to restore football wins it had stripped from Penn State and Joe Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal, and the NCAA did not necessarily win any fans with the move. The agreement, swiftly approved Friday by the boards of the NCAA and the university after intermittent talks heated up this week, lifts the last of the sanctions imposed in 2012 and wipes away the black marks that had tainted one of the nation's most celebrated college athletics programs.
It reinstates the venerated late coach as the winningest in major college football history, prompting the family of Paterno, who died as the scandal was unfolding, to hail the agreement. But lawyers for Sandusky's victims worried that the NCAA's retreat sent the wrong message. And in State College, home to Penn State's sprawling main campus nicknamed Happy Valley, the news was welcome, although not everybody felt warmly toward the NCAA.
Michael Boni, a lawyer for one of the victims who testified at Sandusky's trial, said he does not believe Paterno's victories should be reinstated because they were "tarnished" by Sandusky. He also said he sensed a shift in Penn State's attitude after the criminal case against Sandusky wrapped up and the university concluded civil settlements with victims. "There was a movement away from what I thought was a genuine mea culpa on the part of Penn State, having accepted the NCAA sanctions, and one toward, 'Why did we cave so easily?' That was disappointing," Boni said.
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