Penn State gets $60 million fine, wins vacated from 1998-2011

Monday, July 23, 2012 | 9:07 a.m. CDT; updated 6:51 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 23, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties Monday, including a $60 million fine and the loss of all the Nittany Lions' victories from 1998-2011, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Other sanctions include a four-year ban on bowl games, the loss of 20 scholarships per year over four years and five years' probation. The NCAA also said that any current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the staggering sanctions at a news conference in Indianapolis. Although 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 coach Joe 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 said earlier 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.

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Richard Saunders July 23, 2012 | 3:03 p.m.

Would somebody be so kind as to tell Coach Pinkel, "Yes, you can take away all of that greatness."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 23, 2012 | 5:22 p.m.

Richard: Why don't YOU tell him? After all, you're already gonna have a discussion with him anyway. You said so yourself, to wit:

"Richard Saunders July 20, 2012 | 12:00 p.m.

Coach Pinkel has revealed himself to be a small, small man, who only chooses to perceive reality through rose-colored glasses...So, now we can add "pedophile sex-ring defender" to what Pinkel considers to be a hallmark of greatness. Of course, I no longer care what this small man cares about, as he has now disgraced himself beyond recognition as a human being capable of empathy. I can only hope that every person he encounters in this town will remind him that football is NOT more important than the rape of little boys by their heros.

I know I will."

Let me know when you intend to do this. I would like to observe.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 23, 2012 | 7:04 p.m.

Richard Saunders said, "Coach Pinkel has revealed himself to be a small, small man..."

Well, in case somebody hasn't noticed, Pinkel's SALARY and other perks aren't small; neither were Paterno's. In our present society people are judged worthy by how much money they make, less so by other criteria. This is known as "progress."

(Report Comment)
Cecil Caulkins July 24, 2012 | 3:56 a.m.

Perhaps the NCAA could solve these problems by banning all athletics at every college. Why act sensibly when overkill is an option?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 24, 2012 | 5:50 a.m.

@ Cecil Caulkins:

Banning all athletics at every college would certainly have the effect of reducing the number of U. S. colleges and universities. Without athletics, some of them would have little left to offer and would therefore need to close. :)

PS: Not all college athletics programs are governed by NCAA. You don't have to go outside Columbia to find a college that isn't.

(Report Comment)

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