A commenter in this article pointed out that it is strange, in a way, that we have statues of coaches/athletes at universities. Why? Go to universities abroad...they have statues of famed academics. Because that is what college is really about...right?
Not that I don't enjoy collegiate sports (GO GATORS!), but it was the excessive emphasis on, and near worship of, the Penn State football program that led Paterno (and others) to cover up Sandusky's crimes. They were far more worried about the image of the football program than reporting a crime and protecting children from a sexual predator.
I think Paterno's statue, if left standing, would simply embody this further. Football became the de facto religion of Penn State (and it's the same at many other universities...or basketball, but same idea). Protecting the image of that "religion" was more important to them than doing the right thing.
Sound familiar? Catholic church, among others. The institution became more important than doing what was right. A statue to one who was complicit in the coverup only keeps the problem alive.