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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 26, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Penn State chose to join the NCAA and follow their guidelines. NCAA has to act and it was more than fair punishment for such blatant "lack of institutional control." This is by far the worst scandal in sports history.
Mary July 26, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I must admit that I have become so distressed by this thread! It has gone from discussing the issue of child rape and moved to personal attacks about a person's opinion, bashing the entire Penn State population, and worse! Please stop the bashing and extending blame beyond the people who knew about the situtation and covered it up. The entire student population of Penn State should not be held accountable for this decision. What it really goes to show is the importance that sports plays in an educational situation.....and changes that need to be made. Stop the bashing and let's talk about these things. I'm tired of getting notifications about this thread that I really don't want to red any more!! This is a very sad and bad situation that happened at Penn State, and hopefully now that this has been exposed everyone can take measures all over the country to make sure that it never happens again!
thmp July 26, 2012 at 03:56 PM
So true. Just wait til Spanier, Curley, Shultz start turning on each other and Paterno.
pgh resident July 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM
@thmp- said " Penn State Students deserve all the criticisim they get " this is just the kind of comment that really gets to me and what @Sue is trying to say stop it about the first comment was from : Peggie P. Richardson 9:50 am on Monday, July 23, 2012 The students should not be penalized for the actions of one horrible man and the negligence of others. Put the punishment where it belongs, on the offenders. and all of us started fighting like the children and like the media who couldn't be happier. Im done
bw July 26, 2012 at 06:51 PM
@pgh resident - Read what thmp actually wrote. I agree with thmp completely. Penn State students who CRY and WHINE about Paterno and the football program do deserve criticism. The students are NOT victims and they need to wake up and realize what the PSU administration allowed to happen. You just don't get it! Because of the actions of a few, many people will be punished. That is life and life is not always fair! Although, in my opinion, the punishment in this case was more than fair. In fact I thought that PSU got off easy for what the administration covered up. They could have easily gotten a four year death penalty for football! The we really would have heard the crying and whining! If anything this should serve as a good life lesson to the young PSU students. Your actions (right or wrong) will affect others (intentionally or unintentionally). Wake up and get on the right side of this thing. It's football not a child's life!
pgh resident July 26, 2012 at 07:32 PM
@BW...you came out of left field. I am awake thank you and I am not wrong in what my opinion is. (still aloud to have one aren't I?). It is football and look at all these heated comments about "Football" Im sorry picking a college is something that young adults take seriously, it is (their life and who they owe money to for a very long time) I frankly do not care what you think BW nor do you care what I think. and there lies the problem. The students of PSU are not child abuse victims but are very much being abused by the media and adults such as yourself who can not and will not understand the emotional tole this has had on them as well. I do not think Joe is innocent as I have previously stated. I do not agree with all the santictions but thats my problem and deal accordingly .. MY PROBLEM IS YOU and people who think like you. so I would only hope that YOU WAKE UP!
cc July 26, 2012 at 07:54 PM
The entire population of Penn State isn't being held accountable. They are still going to have teachers and students are going to be taught. They will still have students graduating each semester. They can play football every Saturday except for Bowl games. So the whole school isn't being held accountable. Taking away PaJo's wins because he didn't report this to the police won't take away from a students education either. Out of the thousands of students that goes to Penn State, they will all get a good college education. even the football team.
Isabella Valentine July 26, 2012 at 09:02 PM
When PSU supporters refer to JoPa as someone who did a lot of good and "made a mistake", 'bad decision" and "no one is perfect", that is cause for critism. Enabling a child rapist does not qualify as a "mistake" or "bad decision' in my book, regardless of how may wins JoPa had, or how much money he donated. When leadership fails, everyone suffers. And Kathy, if you don't like someone getting on your case, then don't leave comments.
bw July 26, 2012 at 09:22 PM
You have a big problem then, because there are many people that think the way that I do. So now I’m abusing PSU students??? I don’t think so. Emotional toll? Give me a break! You act like the students were the ones picking up the soap for Sandusky! The PSU students are adults right? They are big boys and girls that should be able to handle the “emotions” of this scandal. They will still get a good college education, which by the way is the reason for going to college, not football. Again this whole situation should serve as a life lesson for the Penn State students and others of the dangers of worshiping a football program. No one could believe that Joe Pa would cover something up like this but he did. Saint Joe was mortal and made a terrible mistake that resulted in the wrath that is happening at Penn State today. The football program at Penn State was corrupt and was rightfully punished. The whole thing is a tragedy and I only hope that some good can come from it. Perhaps the $60 million will help to prevent some children from being abused. At the very least, the whole scandal at Penn State can serve as an example of how not to run a college football program.
bw July 26, 2012 at 09:24 PM
@Isabella. Thank you! Exactly right!
Johnny July 26, 2012 at 09:55 PM
@Isabella Valentine you are wrong, & need to check the facts. Everyone has bigger muscles I guess behind the keyboard....
JustMe July 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM
thmp totally agree with you. No one held a gun to their head and made them join.
JustMe July 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM
I agree with thmp also, the students are not being penalized for Penn State and the cover up they did over all these years Students aren't victims as some say they are, the ones that were molested are the victims that Penn State and PaJoe could of stopped.
JustMe July 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Isabella, PAJoe is a joke anymore and laugh at the ones that still hold him as a god. I so agree with what you write. They are lucky in the fines they got, would of been worse if they couldn't play football for 4 years.
JustMe July 26, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Isabella told the truth, can't you deal with it Johnny.
Mary July 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM
What we all need to learn from this is that if we do something wrong then innocent people suffer. There is no way to impose consequences on someone for their wrong without an innocent person being affected in some way. If a person robs a bank and gets sent to jail then his family will suffer his loss. If a mother chooses to take drugs, then her children are affected by having her drug use. Something to think about as we go through our daily life, and when making decisions!
Isabella Valentine July 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Exactly what facts are incorrect Johnny? Those "mistake", "bad decision", "no one is perfect" comments were made on this website. I've also read similar comments on other websites. If you think JoPa made a "mistake" and want to defend him, that's your right, but don't think I'm going to sit by and not say anything. If you're referring to the term "enabling", well that is exactly what he did. He was told about Sandusky, he told his superiors about it, and then did nothing. He went to that campus day after day, saw Sandusky and did nothing. In my book, that qualifies as enabling. And don't even get me started on McQueary hearing "slapping sounds ". While I don't understand your 'muscles' comment, it just so happens I do have some pretty nice muscles as I like to lift hand weights regularly so my arms look fetching in a tank top.
JustMe July 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Penn State Administration and Joe gave Sandusky the green light to molest children when they didn't report him to either the Police or CYS. They are no better than Sandusky and the NCAA punished them for not acting on what was happening. The Grand Jury Report and the Feesh Report both come out and state the facts. The NCAA also said that more fines and penalties will come as their cases come up in court. Penn State President agreed to go off the Feesh Report and signed off on it. So NCAA punished them how they deemed fit. The students of Penn State were not punished, Penn State University as a whole was punished for a cover-up that should of been reported years ago.
thmp July 27, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Agree @JustMe. NCAA isn't going to look look the other way like Paterno. Penn State violated NCAA rules. The sanctions were meant to be punitive and corrective. Obviously moral and ethical codes were violated. The head coach clearly failed at supervising all activities of assistant coaches which is required. Serious lack of institutional control is the main point. Erickson made a deal with the NCAA to avoid a full blown investigation because that would have been so much worse for PSU. Imagine how long it would take. 2-3 years maybe. Not to mention what they would find during the investigation. What recruit would go to PSU while under investigation by the NCAA and still possibly facing a mult-year death penalty after that? The Board of Trustees already said they aren't going to fight this. They got off so easy. $60 mil fine is nothing for them. PSU leaders really messed up and that means everyone affiliated with PSU has to deal with it.
Isabella Valentine July 27, 2012 at 02:03 AM
JustMe, from one friend to another, did you see what you wrote regarding calling CYS? You might want to redo that third sentence. Talk about a Freudian slip.
JustMe July 27, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Isabella thank you, what I meant to say is that if you know someone that is abusing a child, physically, mentally emotionally or sexually, please report them to CYS. Penn State Administration and Paterno should of reported it to CYS or the Police, then all those children after that shower incident could of been saved. They didn't even have to leave their names when they called CYS but it should of been reported. The students of Penn State football team isn't being punished. The Administration of Penn State and all those that covered it up is being punished. The President of the University also said that he would agree with what came out of the FBI's report and it isn't much different than what came out in the Grand Jury investigation. I spent the day with my grandma and her favorite saying is Nip it in the butt" as meaning "fixing the problem", not sure if any of you heard the saying before. meaning nip it in the butt -Bastardization of the phrase "nip it in the bud," which in turn means to stop something from happening by squelching it early on.
JustMe July 27, 2012 at 03:04 AM
He will be punished harshly, as he will be spending the rest of his life and jail and people in jail don't like molesters. Joe and PSU lack of reporting it got the whole school penalized, just not the football team. These young adults go to college for an education and not just football.
James July 27, 2012 at 04:03 AM
a. Im calling you a liar. You werent an abused child. b. if Joepa would have followup and followed thru like he claimed to, the problem would have been resolved in 2002. Then we would have reserved our hate for sandusky. instead joepa covered up, discouraged, and encouraged sandusky. thats why we all hate him and RIGHTFULLY hold him accountable too.
Amanda Gillooly July 27, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Hey just as a reminder, can we keep this forum civil, please?
Parent of 2012 Grad July 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM
@THMP Why quibble over a qualifier? Let’s see if I can help you understand through a simple story, THMP. Since you favor the word creepy, we’ll use a story about Creepy, Inc. THMP works for Creepy, Inc. The President of Creepy, Inc. beats his wife and kids every night. Upper management knows and is complicit. Need punished. Did you know all Creepy employees are drunks? (See the logical connection between wife/child abuse and drunk employees, THMP?) THMP works for Creepy, Inc. Therefore, THMP is a Creepy drunk. But hey, why quibble over a modifier? THMP said “No wonder you are in such denial. Having to pay off those student loans for a school whose greatest legacy is a covering up the crimes of Jerry Sandusky for at least 14 years.” No support – irrelevant bloviating.
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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