Joe Paterno wrote nearly a month before his death in January that the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case is "not a football scandal" and that certain Penn State officials were wrong to claim the football program was a bad influence on the university.
In a letter made public Wednesday, the former head coach denied that Penn State is "a football factory" and said officials' calls to "start" focusing on integrity were ignorant. Paterno defended the academic record of not only football players but the university as a whole.
A website that covers Penn State football, FightOnState.com, posted the letter a day before the release of a report on how Penn State handled the accusations against Sandusky. That investigation, ordered by the board of trustees, was headed by Louis J. Freeh, a former FBI director and federal judge.
The report will be available online at 9 a.m. Thursday at http://www.TheFreehReportonPSU.com. Freeh will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia.
Both Paterno and university President Graham Spanier were ousted by the trustees a few days after Sandusky's arrest last November.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse last month and awaits sentencing.
Prosecutors said the Nittany Lions' longtime defensive coordinator used gifts and his access to Penn State facilities to molest boys over a 15-year span.
The FightOnState website says Paterno's letter was written in late December or early January.
"I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal," the letter says.
"Regardless of anyone's opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration officials in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated student athletes should be in anyway tarnished."
Paterno said he was particularly annoyed that some Penn State officials responded to the Sandusky scandal by declaring the university was "going to 'start' focusing on integrity in athletics." He said Penn State has a long history of putting academics first and maintaining high standards in sports.
"For over 40 years, young men have come to Penn State with the idea that they were going to do something different — they were coming to a place where they would be expected to compete at the highest levels of college football and challenged to get a degree," Paterno wrote.
"And they succeeded — during the last 45 years NO ONE has won more games while graduating more players. …"
"Penn State is not a football factory and it is ALREADY a great university. We have world-class researchers, degree programs, and students in every discipline."
Paterno suggested that doubters and detractors take a look at the contributions to society that Penn State football players have made since their graduations.
"Is this a collection of jocks who did nothing but skate by at a football factory, or are these men who earned an education and built a reputation second to none as a place where academic integrity and gridiron success could thrive together?" he asked.
He said it was a "Grand Experiment" that Penn State insist that its football players remember they are students first.
"Whatever failings that may have happened at Penn State, whatever conclusions about my or others' conduct you may wish to draw from a fair view of the allegations, it is inarguable that these actions had nothing to do with this last team or any of the hundreds of prior graduates of the 'Grand Experiment.'"
Paterno died of lung cancer on Jan. 22 at age 85.
Reporter Frank Warner contributed to this story.