NCAA sanctions Penn State with bowl bans, scholarship losses
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The NCAA has sanctioned Penn State University Monday after the scandal involving convicted child sex offender and former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a news conference Monday that the governing body would fine Penn State $60 million, with funds to be used to support programs that serve victims of child sexual abuse.
Penn State will also lose 10 initial scholarships and 20 overall scholarships per year for four years. All current football student-athletes can transfer out of Penn State without sitting out a year.
The NCAA also vacated all of Penn State's wins from football for 1998-2011 and banned them from bowl games for four years. That means that Joe Paterno's official record of head coach has him with 298 wins - 12th all-time in NCAA FBS history, instead of his former spot at No. 1.
The Big Ten Conference also decided to ban Penn State from the Big Ten championship game for four years and will donate all Big Ten bowl money for that period of time to charities.
Penn State will host the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, Nov. 24.
As tweeted by Newsradio 620 WTMJ Badgers radio color commentator Mike Lucas, "Wisconsin has become Penn State's de facto bowl opponent in each of the next four seasons the Nittany Lions are banned from postseason play."
NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the staggering sanctions at a news conference in Indianapolis. Though the NCAA stopped short of imposing the "death penalty" -- shutting down the Nittany Lions' program completely -- the punishment is still crippling for a team that is trying to start over with a new coach and a new outlook.
Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was found guilty in June of sexually abusing young boys, sometimes on campus. An investigation commissioned by the school and released July 12 found that Paterno, who died in January, and several other top officials at Penn State stayed quiet for years about accusations against Sandusky.
Emmert fast-tracked penalties rather than go through the usual circuitous series of investigations and hearings. The NCAA said the $60 million is equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the football program. The money must be paid into an endowment for external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at Penn State.
"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," Emmert said.
Emmert had earlier said he had "never seen anything as egregious" as the horrific crimes of Sandusky and the cover-up by Paterno and others at the university, including former Penn State President Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley.
The investigation headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh said that Penn State officials kept what they knew from police and other authorities for years, enabling the abuse to go on.
There had been calls across the nation for Penn State to receive the "death penalty," and Emmert had not ruled out that possibility as late as last week -- though Penn State did not fit the criteria for it. That punishment is for teams that commit a major violation while already being sanctioned.