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Penn State Football Loses State Farm As Sponsor

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In this Sept. 4, 2004 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno leads his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa.
In this Sept. 4, 2004 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno leads his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa.

State Farm Insurance has dropped its sponsorship of Penn State football for the upcoming season, with a spokeswoman saying it has scrapped plans to hang signs in Beaver Stadium and air radio commercials during broadcasts of home games.

"We felt it was the best thing to do at this time," spokeswoman Arlene Lester told The Huffington Post Monday night, adding that State Farm has sponsored Penn State football for "several years."

The announcement came in the wake of heavy sanctions levied Monday against the school for enabling former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys, though Lester said the decision has been in the making for some time.

Penn State's sports information department did not immediately respond to a request for comment about State Farm's move Tuesday morning.

State Farm will continue to advertise with the NCAA on a national scale -- and that could involve games with Penn State, Lester said. The company also planned to continue advertising in regional broadcasts that could include Penn State as an opponent for the local team.

State Farm will maintain its sponsorship of Penn State basketball, Lester said.

The company stayed put last fall as news broke of Sandusky's then-alleged crimes and arrest. Other advertisers bowed out, including paint company Sherwin Williams, which removed its logo from Penn State press conferences, and Cars.com, which refused to advertise during two Penn State TV broadcasts.

Cars.com, an advertiser for college football on ESPN, told HuffPost last month it would be willing to advertise during games in which Penn State participated if "the environment continues to be positive," but that was before the release of the Freeh report, which detailed Sandusky's crimes and the university's response, and the NCAA penalties.

The NCAA on Monday ordered the school to pay $60 million, had the program's football scholarships slashed and barred the team from bowl games for four years. It also vacated all of the team's wins from 1998 to 2011.

In a bizarre coincidence, AP reported that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., which wrote Sandusky's homeowners policy, filed suit Monday arguing that it should be exempt from issuing any payouts in lawsuits against Sandusky because its policy doesn't cover willful or malicious acts in the home.