Penn State Faces Stiff Penalties from NCAA, Big Ten

The penalties, imposed as punishment for covering up child abuse by former football coach Jerry Sandusky, includes a post-season ban and $60 million fine.

During the weekend prior to the NCAA announcement of sanctions it planned to impose against Penn State, rumors spread that the penalties were going to be “unprecedented” in scope. This lead many to speculate that the National Collegiate Athletics Association planned to impose a “death penalty” on the school’s football program, which would have banned Penn State from participating in games for at least one year. In the end, the association didn’t go that far, but the punishment it chose to impose was still severe.

Outlined during the press conference earlier this week, the imposed penalties include a $60 million fine to be used to set up an endowment fund for victims of sexual abuse, a four-year post-season ban, and a reduction in the number of football scholarships from 25 to 15 while the post-season ban persists. In addition, the school must commit to work closely with an assigned NCAA monitor during its probational period of five years.

The penalty that struck deepest at the heart of the Penn State Football faithful is the vacating of all of the university’s football victories between the years of 1998 and 2011, when the school administrators first became aware of allegations of child sexual abuse lodged against the assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to when the grand jury indictment against him was unsealed. During the press conference, the NCAA officials also said that the university has agreed to sign a consent decree and forgo the appeals process.

The loss of 112 wins over the period of more than a decade means that the late Joe Paterno, former Nittany Lions head coach, is no longer the coach with the most victories in college football history. This honor has now passed to retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.

A few hours after the NCAA announcement, The Big Ten Conference released a statement that said that the university will not be eligible to participate in the bowl revenue share program during the course of their post-season ban. Penn State, along with another bowl-banned team, Ohio State, will remain in the conference but will lose approximately $3.25 million per year in bowl revenues between now and 2015. In the case of Penn State, the forfeited funds will be donated to charities that help sexual abuse victims.

Penn State held a meeting for players Monday morning following Emmert’s nationally televised press conference. Players who are eligible won’t be restricted by another institution’s scholarship limits if they choose to transfer, nor will they have to sit out a season as is customary for players transferring from one FBS program to another.

Delany said the Big Ten’s initial thought is to not limit the ability of players to transfer to another Big Ten school at this time.

Wednesday

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