"There is lingering respect for Joe Paterno," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of Quinnipiac's polling institute. "One has to wonder if the Sandusky scandal had never happened whether support for renaming the stadium would have approached 100 percent."
A sector of Penn State students and alumni has pushed for years to rename the stadium after Paterno. But calls for the tribute in the coach's honor rose after his death from lung cancer and the circumstances that ended his coaching career.
It was originally named for Gov. James Beaver, who served on the school's board of trustees in the late 19th century. A Civil War veteran, Beaver lost his right leg while commanding Union troops at the Battle of Ream's Station.
University officials have said they are still mulling options for a way to commemorate Paterno's legacy. His name and that of his wife, Sue, already adorn several campus buildings they helped to build, including the library and a spiritual center.
Friday's poll comes four days after Penn State's board issued yet another statement explaining its decision to fire Paterno in November along with university President Graham B. Spanier.
Despite concerted attempts earlier this year to mend hurt feelings through public appearances and media campaigns, trustees continue to receive hate mail, death threats, and criticism for their vote.
Paterno and Spanier, the board said in its report Monday, exhibited a "failure of leadership" when they neglected to notify outside authorities in 2002 of allegations that Sandusky had been seen molesting a boy in a football locker room. Both Paterno and Spanier said they were not aware of the full extent of the accusation at the time.
Sandusky, 68, has denied charges he sexually assaulted 10 boys during a 15-year period. He is set to take his case before a jury in May.
Contact Jeremy Roebuck
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