Joe Paterno’s name will be removed from the Big Ten conference trophy as a result of Penn State’s child abuse scandal, the Big Ten announced yesterday. The trophy will be renamed the Stagg Championship Trophy, in honor of Amos Alonzo Stagg, who coached at the University of Chicago for 40 years, from 1892 to 1932.
“We believe that it would be inappropriate to keep Joe Paterno’s name on the trophy at this time,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial. We believe that it’s important to keep the focus on the players and the teams that will be competing in the inaugural championship game.”
Although it is no longer a member of the Big Ten, the University of Chicago was a founding member of the conference in 1896. While at Chicago, Stagg coached the team to a 242–112–27 record, and led the Maroons to the Big Ten championship in 1899, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1913, 1922, and 1924. One of the game’s early innovators, Stagg introduced many revolutionary concepts to the game, including the huddle and the forward pass. The D-III National Championship is named the Stagg Bowl in his honor.
The Stagg Championship Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the inaugural Big Ten championship game, which will take place on Saturday, December 3. The championship game is played between the winner of the Leaders division (comprised of Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, and Penn State) and the Legends division (Minnesota, Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan State, and Nebraska). The game was introduced as a result of the University of Nebraska joining the conference in 2010, creating the current 12-team conference. Previously, the team with the best conference record was named conference champion.
Stagg passed away in 1965 at the age of 102.