INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA took unprecedented actions against Penn State on Monday in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual molestation scandal, fining the school $60 million, cutting scholarships for four years, imposing a four-year postseason ban and vacating all wins from 1998-2011.
Vacating the wins means the late Joe Paterno no longer is the winningest major college football coach in history.
The actions were unprecedented both for their severity and how they unfolded. The normal NCAA enforcement process did not take place. Instead, NCAA president Mark Emmert gained approval from the board of directors for the penalties. The board is made up of 22 college presidents and chancellors.
Edward J. Ray, the NCAA executive committee chairman and president of Oregon State, said, "Not only does the NCAA have the authority to act in this case, we also have the responsibility."
Ray cited the Sandusky criminal investigation and the recently released Freeh Commission report as reasons for the NCAA actions. Ray noted that Penn State commissioned the Freeh report and agreed with the findings.
The $60 million fine, which Emmert said equaled one year of gross revenue from the football team, will be used to establish an endowment to help child sexual abuse victims.
"No price the NCAA can levy with repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims," Emmert said.
Penn State will be banned from the postseason for four years, which includes the Big Ten championship game and any bowl appearance. Initial scholarships have been reduced to 15 from 25 for four years; that means Penn State can sign just 15 recruits a year for four years. In addition, any player can transfer immediately without sitting out a year.
Emmert said Penn State has signed a consent decree in regard to the penalties, and he said the NCAA will work with Penn State to make sure the school implements the procedures called for by the NCAA.
Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was convicted of 45 counts of child molestation and is awaiting sentencing. Civil suits on behalf of Sandusky's victims are expected, and legal experts say Penn State could be liable for tens of millions of dollars.
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