www.timesleader.com News Sports Weather Obituaries Features Business People Opinion Video Contact Us Classifieds

JoePa: Expand Big Ten, but no ND

FOGELSVILLE — Joe Paterno says he’d like to see either Rutgers, Pittsburgh or Syracuse join the Big Ten.

The Penn State coach also knows who he wants to keep out: Notre Dame.

Paterno, meeting with reporters Wednesday at an alumni event near Allentown, has long pushed for Big Ten expansion. A 12th team could ease scheduling difficulties and clear the way for a lucrative playoff. Penn State joined as the conference’s 11th team in 1990.

Paterno said he’d like the Big Ten to add an Eastern school, especially one that plays in the New York media market. That would seem to favor Rutgers.

“If I had my choice, someone that can give us the biggest TV exposure in the East,” Paterno said, offering as possibilities “Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers. Not in that order.”

Notre Dame rejected an invitation to join the Big Ten a decade ago.

“There’s some pressure, I would suppose, to maybe go back to Notre Dame and ask again, which I would not be happy with,” Paterno said. “I think they’ve had their chance.”

The coach also weighed in on Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who faces the loss of up to 14 victories resulting from an academic cheating scandal. The NCAA gave its Committee on Infractions until June 2 to respond to a Florida State appeal of sanctions.

The 82-year-old Paterno has 383 wins — one ahead of Bowden, who will turn 80 in November.

“I can’t tell you how many games I’ve won. I can’t tell you how many games Bobby’s won,” Paterno said. “But I would not want to (have) somebody put me down in the grave and say, ‘Hey, here’s a guy that won more games than any other college coach because they took 12 games away,’ or 14 games away, or whatever they want to take away from Bobby. That’s not right.”

The Weekender Go Lackawanna Timesleader The Dallas Post Tunkhannock Times Impressions Media The Abington Journal Hazelton Times Five Mountain Times El Mensajero Pittston Sunday Dispatch Creative Circle Media Image Map