Penn State Fined $60M, Banned From Bowl Games For 4 Years

College SportsCollege FootballAbusive BehaviorSportsFootballJerry SanduskyThe Pennsylvania State University

The NCAA slapped Penn State University with a staggering fine of $60,000,000 and imposed severe penalties on its storied football program, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.  The “Division One” football team will  be banned from all “post-season” play for four years, and all of its wins from 1998-2011 will be erased from the record books.   That’s the period when the late Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno—and university officials in State College, Pennsylvania--apparently started turning a “blind eye” on indicators that former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was sexually abusing boys in campus locker rooms and showers.

“The results were perverse and unconscionable,” said NCAA President, Mark Emmert, during a press conference in Indianapolis Monday.  “No price the NCAA can levy will repair the grievous damage of Jerry Sandusky on his victims.”

Sandusky was recently convicted on 45 counts of child molestation and is waiting in jail to be sentenced.  It’s expected he will die in prison.

Paterno died in early 2012 of lung cancer, after getting fired from his long-held position last fall.  By erasing 111 wins from his record, between 1998 and 2011, Paterno loses his place in history as the “winningest” coach in Division One football.  He now drops to 12th place. 

The sixty million dollar fine represents one year of revenue from the hugely popular, Penn State football program.  The money will be used to establish an endowment to help child sexual abuse victims. 

The NCAA acted quickly, after former FBI director, Louis Freeh, released a scathing report on the inaction of Paterno and university officials, after they received information Sandusky was molesting boys on campus, many of the children from a charity he founded.  A former graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, told his father that he walked into the showers in 2001 and witnessed Sandusky having sex with one boy.  McQueary told his father what he witnessed, and the next day McQueary told Paterno, but police were never alerted.  NCAA Executive Committee chairman, Edward Ray, said the Sandusky case provided a “cautionary tale” for other colleges and universities, suggesting they do a “gut check” on the culture that places some sports programs beyond reproach.

Aside from the huge monetary fine, Penn State will only be allowed to offer scholarships to 15 football recruits in the next four years, down from the usual 25. 

The Nittany Lions, Penn State’s fabled football team, played in 10 bowl games, during the period where the victories will now be erased.  It won six bowls during that time. 

Penn State will also lose two, Big 10 conference titles. 

Evan Royster, who played for Penn State between 2006 and 2010—and is now a running back for the Washington Redskins---reacted on Twitter Monday: “Ah crap—so, I lost every, college football game I ever played in?”

Penn State stands to lose a lot more.  It’s expected dozens of Sandusky’s victims will file civil lawsuits against the university.  

Meantime, Joe Paterno has lost another concrete sign of the once-enormous respect he enjoyed in college football circles.  His 900-pound bronze statue was removed from the university grounds early Sunday, although the library will still retain his name.  Paterno has now dropped from 409 to 298 wins, with the NCAA decision announced Monday.

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