Massive penalties for Penn State: Fine, bowl ban, Paterno no longer winningest coach

The statue of Joe Paterno has been taken down by Penn State.
Patrick Smith

The NCAA leveled massive sanctions on Penn State today, levying a $60 million fine, banning the team from post season and bowl games for four years and vacating scores of wins.

Penn State’s victories from 1998 through 2001 will be vacated. Coach Joe Paterno’s record will reflect the vacated victories, so he will lose his place as the NCAA’s all-time winningest coach.

The penalties represent unprecedented punishment for Penn State’s inaction when officials were alerted to child sex abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

At a news conference in Indianapolis, NCAA Mark Emmert said Penn State football scholarships would be reduced to 15 from 25 and team wins would be vacated from 1998-2011.

“In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable,” Emmert said.

“No price the NCAA can levy with repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims,” he said, referring to the former Penn State defensive coordinator convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse last month.

The $60 million fine is equal to the annual revenue generated by the Penn State football program, the NCAA said.

The governing body for U.S. college sports opted not to levy the so-called “death penalty” that would eliminate an entire season or more for the scandal-scarred football program.

In June, Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. This month, former FBI director Louis Freeh released a report that criticized longtime head football coach Joe Paterno for his role in protecting Sandusky, and the school’s image, at the expense of Sandusky’s young victims. The Freeh report concluded their motive was to shield the university and its football program from negative publicity.

“We cannot look to NCAA history to determine how to handle circumstances so disturbing, shocking and disappointing,” Emmert said in the statement. “As the individuals charged with governing college sports, we have a responsibility to act. These events should serve as a call to every single school and athletics department to take an honest look at its campus environment and eradicate the ‘sports are king’ mindset that can so dramatically cloud the judgment of educators.”



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