Normal service has been restored in Happy Valley.

Penn State’s football team finished an 11-2 campaign with a convincing Cotton Bowl win and a final ranking of #9 in the country in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the Coaches Poll. Remarkably, the men’s basketball team is in position to finish pretty close to that ranking:

That ranking will take a hit after the Nittany Lions’ home loss to Illinois on Tuesday, and followup loss to Indiana on the weekend, but it’s still heady territory for a basketball program that has perpetually lived in the shadow of Beaver Stadium and the teams that play there.

And this past weekend marked the latest in the long and great tradition of THON, Penn State’s famous dance marathon which raises significant amounts of money to fund research in the fight against childhood cancer. In an increasingly polarized culture, it’s nearly impossible to find anyone who can say anything derogatory about THON, and it won’t happen here.

With all of this positive momentum, it probably made sense for Penn State to make this announcement on a Friday afternoon, the traditional time to break news you’d be just as happy for people not to see:

The AP story contains the granular details. The gist of the story is this: Penn State has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of money to the Paterno family — ostensibly to pay “certain of the Paterno family’s expenses” — in exchange for seeing the lawsuit filed by the late Joe Paterno’s son, Jay, ended quietly.

The story goes on to quell speculation about whether the Joe Paterno statue, seen in the tweet above but not presently on display in Happy Valley, might be reinstalled. Any decision about that issue would need to be made with the mutual agreement of the Paterno family.

Similar to the manner in which this story was dumped on a Friday afternoon, it buried the most damning data for the final paragraph:

Penn State settled with more than 35 people who said they were abused by Sandusky as children, making payouts that totaled more than $109 million. The school has spent many millions more in costs and fines associated with the scandal.

As a point of reference, this year’s THON raised just over $11 million.

Again, we live in increasingly embittered and divided times, but it feels like we might all be better off if this is the last time we hear about, talk about or argue about Joe Paterno’s Penn State legacy in a news context.

Happy Valley has apparently moved on, and so the time may be right for all of us to do the same.