Two years after former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child molestation charges, the scandal continues to play out.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A new era began for Penn State University Saturday following the scandal that toppled Joe Paterno after 61 years and brought harsh sanctions from the NCAA.
The mood seemed really happy in Happy Valley once again.
"We are…Penn State…thank you…you're welcome," was chanted all day.
Thousands filled the lawns tailgating outside Beaver Stadium. Most everyone was looking forward and not looking back.
"Everyone's really excited to be here, we're just trying to forget what happened and we're just trying to go to a football game and support our team," said Serena Fulton, a senior at Penn State.
"We've been waiting for this day for nine months and we've been waiting to show the world that we still are Penn State," said Tyler Franks, also a senior at Penn State.
The grills were all fired up, the drinks were flowing, there was food everywhere but it was pride and spirit that ruled this day.
"We love each other, we love the school and we love the pride that we have and the pride that we have is not so much for the football program, but it's for the university and the things we do. We are better than football and we're better than the scandal," said Franks.
Many gathered to take pictures where the Joe Paterno statue and wall once stood. Both have been totally removed and replaced with five new trees and fresh sod. Someone placed flowers and a small plastic Paterno bobble head doll on the spot. Several fans were angry about some of the decisions made following the scandal.
"JoPa built this university and that's what they have reduced him to, a five inch piece of plastic on a piece of sod, it's a disgrace," said Amy Hegel, the mother of two students.
"We should have kept the statue and we should never had signed the consent decree with the NCAA, it was ridiculous they did not have due process, it was wrong," said one angry fan.
However, it was overwhelmingly smiles, love and team spirit that came shining through on this historic day. Everyone looked to be having a great time.
Although Penn State fell to Ohio University 24 to 14, the day proved to be a positive new chapter for most everyone associated with Penn State.
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