Joe Paterno’s family turned down an offer by Penn State to rename Beaver Stadium after the late coach as part of a package deal that would have prohibited the family from suing the university, The Patriot-News reported Sunday.
A source close to the Paterno family told the newspaper that renaming the field "was never important to Joe."
According to The Patriot-News, renaming the stadium was one of three items in the package that would have come in exchange for a full release.
The school also offered an apology for firing Paterno over the phone and said they would fully honor the late coach’s contract.
Penn State did honor the terms of Paterno’s contract last week by making an estimated $5.5 million termination payment to his estate, but an attorney representing his family stressed that the payout was not a settlement.
"The university had requested that the family agree to a full release in return for the payments under the contract," attorney Wick Sollers told the newspaper in a statement. "That request was declined and no release was signed. It would be incorrect, therefore, to characterize the payments as a settlement."
The terms of the contract also included a $3 million retirement bonus and the use of a Beaver Stadium suite by Paterno’s family for 25 years, a privilege valued at roughly $1.5 million. Paterno’s wife, Sue, will also receive a monthly payment of $1,000 for the rest of her life and has been granted access to specialized hydrotherapy equipment in the Lasch football building.
Paterno, who died in January, was fired in November amid sexual abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
With just three games remaining in the 2011 season, after which he had planned to retire, the university’s board of trustees dismissed him for a "failure of leadership" — specifically, failing to follow up on allegations the defensive coordinator had been sexually abusing boys.
The iconic head coach ran the Penn State football program for 46 years and was major college football’s all-time wins leader. He died in January at age 85 due to complications from lung cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease a week after he was fired.
Sandusky has pleaded not guilty and the case is ongoing.