Penn State football punished by NCAA over Sandusky scandal
The NCAA on Monday announced a series of unprecedented sanctions against the Penn State football program for its involvement in the sexual abuse scandal that centered on former coach Jerry Sandusky.
The penalties include a $60 million fine, a four-year postseason ban, an annual reduction of 10 scholarships over a four-year period and five years of probation.
But perhaps the most significant individual sanction in the context of college football history is that all of Penn State’s wins from 1998 to 2011 have been vacated, which means that Joe Paterno, who oversaw the Nittany Lions’ football program for nearly 46 years, no longer is the sport’s all-time winningest coach.
As a result, Paterno's win total decreased by 111 to 298. He now ranks No. 12 on the all-time coaching wins list. Eddie Robinson, who coached at Grambling University for 57 years, now ranks No. 1 among high-level college football coaches with 408 victories.
The NCAA also announced Monday that current and incoming Penn State football players will be allowed to transfer from the school immediately without penalty. Typically, players who transfer from one Division I school to another are forced by NCAA rule to sit out one season.
The NCAA is considering waiving scholarship limits for any football program that takes in a Penn State transfer. Teams typically are limited to 85 scholarship players.
The school has signed what NCAA president Mark Emmert described as a "consent decree" and will not appeal the sanctions.
“Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a written statement said in a written released by the school. “With today’s announcement and the action it requires of us, the University takes a significant step forward.”
In a scathing rebuke of Penn State administrators, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the school had put "hero worship and winning at all costs" ahead of integrity, honesty and responsibility.
Emmert said the NCAA chose not to levy the so-called "death penalty" because it would have harmed individuals with no role in the Sandusky scandal.
Later on Monday, The Big Ten Conference of college sports announced Penn State would forfeit its share of revenues for bowl games organized by the league, and the estimated $13 million would instead be donated to charities devoted to the protection of children.
"This case involves tragic and tragically unnecessary circumstances," Emmert said. "One of the grave damages stemming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail, indeed too big to even challenge. The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all costs.
"In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable," he said. "No price the NCAA can levy will repair the grievous damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims. However, we can make clear that the culture, actions and inactions that allowed them to be victimized will not be tolerated in collegiate athletics."