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Penn State Football Escapes NCAA 'Death Penalty'

The NCAA imposed $60 million fine, reduced scholarships, and banned bowl appearances.

Stopping short of cancelling the season, the NCAA Monday imposed severe, wide-ranging sanctions against Penn State football in light of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

“This is just an unprecedented, painful chapter in the history of intercollegiate athletics,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert.

The sanctions include:

  • $60 million fine, with the money going to set up an endowment to benefit child sex abuse prevention and treatment programs nationwide. The amount is equal to a year's gross football revenue at Penn State.
  • 4-year ban on bowl game appearances.
  • 4-year reduction in scholarships from 25 to 15. Current scholarship players are free to transfer from Penn State to other schools and immediately play at their new school, if academically eligible.
  • All Penn State wins from 1998-2011 are vacated, essentially stripping late coach Joe Paterno of the title of "winningest coach in college football history."
  • 5-years probation.

The NCAA also will require Penn State to employ a chief compliance officer. The NCAA will select an ethics integrity monitor who will report to the NCAA as well as to Penn State and the university’s trustees as to the school’s progress.

Also Monday, the Big Ten Conference announced its own sanctions, saying Penn State is not allowed to share the conference's bowl revenues while it's serving the NCAA's postseason ban.

"That money, estimated to be approximately $13 million, will be donated to established charitable organizations in Big Ten communities dedicated to the protection of children," said a statement issued by the conference.

Penn State President Rodney Erickson said the university "accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA. With today’s announcement and the action it requires of us, the University takes a significant step forward," he said in a statement posted on Penn State's web site.

The sanctions are meant to "ensure that Penn State will rebuild an athletic culture that went horribly awry," said Emmert. “For the next several years now Penn State can focus on the work of rebuilding its athletic culture, not the next bowl game.”

Emmert said the NCAA considered the death penalty, a sanction that would have shut the school’s football program for a period of years, but felt it would have brought “harm to many who have nothing to do with this case.”

The sanctions come a day after Penn State Paterno's statue from outside Beaver stadium, and are based on former which concluded that the highest leaders of the university showed a "total disregard for the safety and welfare of children" who were abused by Jerry Sandusky.

Erickson said much work remains to be done, but several reforms have already been implemented.

"It is important to know we are entering a new chapter at Penn State and making necessary changes," he said. 

"We must create a culture in which people are not afraid to speak up, management is not compartmentalized, all are expected to demonstrate the highest ethical standards, and the operating philosophy is open, collegial, and collaborative."

The Paterno family also released a statement, suggesting the NCAA acted before all of the facts are known.

"The NCAA has now become the latest party to accept the (Freeh) report as the final word on the Sandusky scandal. The sanctions announced by the NCAA today defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best," the family said in its statement.

Do you agree with the NCAA sanctions? You can add your comments in the box below, and take our poll.

thmp July 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM
@Pgh resident - Feel free to quibble if it helps you forget about the real issues. Hey, in your story you didn't mention whether this THMP guy happened to frequent football games at Creepy Valley. Sounds like the type. Speaking of irrelevant bliovating, your post on July 24th at 9:38 says "I am outraged by the hatred toward PSU and I wonder what stems behind it, were you not able to get into PSU...?" So what exactly do you think the NCAA should have done? Try to use little words because not ALL of us were able to get into PSU.
JustMe July 27, 2012 at 03:48 PM
bw have to agree with you, there is no emotional toll to the students of PSU and they are not children but Adults. They can still go to classes every day, learn, graduate. Those victims are the ones that were molested that have to live with this the rest of their life. I don't see the young adults that are students of Penn State nor their mighty football team waking up from nightmares because Joe's statue was removed and they took away the might Joe's wins. Like someone said boo hooo hooo, if the Mighty Joe was a decent person when he was told about the child being molested in the shower he should of picked up the phone and called the Police and CYS and say "I think you need to know that Jerry Sandusky was in a shower with a young child having sex and I want to make a report." No he called McQueary and told him instead. This was the start of PSU cover-up and when it did hit the fan and Joe and a few others were fired this was the start of the boohooing about the Mighty Joe being fired. Then when they took his statue down there was more boohooing because it wasn't fair (YES it was) and the penalities that came from the NCAA were harsh but they deserve what they got. PSU will survive, students still will go there, alumni will still donate money. Students aren't suffering, but the children that were molested are.
Rlynn July 27, 2012 at 04:55 PM
A.James, you are behaving like a bully. I don't need to prove anything to anyone especially to someone that does not know how to have a civil tongue or manners. B. If you actually read what I wrote you would know that I wasn't standing up for Joe Pa. I support the students and the people of State College that had nothing to do with this scandal. Not all of us that we're abused remain stagnate and curled up in a fetal position our whole lives. A lot of us refuse to be labeled as victims because that makes us feel powerless. I used the word survivor rightfully so. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have been sexually abused in some form before they are 18. People like James are one of the reasons why children don't come forth and tell on their abusers. The predators tell kids that no one will believe them. Kudos to all the students at Penn State that are willing to show the world that they will not be defined by media labels and are rising to the occasion to show all of us that they are young men and women of good character. How awesome it is that the football players remain dedicated to their fellow teammates and to their PSU " family". The majority know that what happened was so terribly wrong but they also believe that the heart of this school is not devious and malicious. There are many many great people that are- Penn State! Forgive, heal and move on to be better than before! That is what will be most helpful to the abused. Let the anger go. God bless them all!
car July 27, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Did they do an autopsy on Joe Paterno??
JustMe July 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Prior to the release of the Grand Jury investigation into the scandal at Penn State football coach Joe Paterno transfer ownership of his house, worth $594,484, to his wife for $1 in July 2011? Did PA Joe know that he was about to be drawn into the college's sex-abuse scandal, with potential civil lawsuits? By Joe transferring his home to his wife name only then this asset from his place of residence couldn't be used in any lawsuit that a plaintiff won. Joe also knew in January of 2011 that the Grand Jury opened an investigation into the Sandusky rapes charges and he then started working on a retirement package that would be iron clad and no one could touch. A man who some claim is innocent wouldn't be worrying about his home nor his pension that couldn't be touched in the event that he was fired. Under the agreement that the Full Board of Trustee's from PSU did not know about included 3 million at the end of 2011, the 350,000 loan from PSU would be forgiven, him and his family would be able to use a luxury box at the stadium and use of PSU plane for the next 25 years free of charge. None of this information was released until after Joe was fired from Penn State. Joe's retirement package came out to be worth 5.5 million and couldn't be rescinded on in case he was fired. Would a man who wasn't guilty line up all his pins in a row before the scandal broke and he was fired for the biggest scandal in College history. Joe knew he was guilty.

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