The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced its penalties against Penn State University in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Penn State has been fined $60 million, has been banned from postseason play for four years and must vacate all of its wins under coach Joe Paterno from 1998 to 2011.
While the NCAA did not levy the “death penalty” that would have shut down Penn State’s football program, the penalties are harsh enough to mean that it will be years before the Nittany Lions regain their top-ranking position. Penn State players will be allowed to transfer to other universities where they can play immediately, opening the possibility of what the New York Times calls a “mass exodus.”
The NCAA’s penalties also include the loss of 20 scholarships per year over four years and five years probation.
The $60 million, which is equivalent to the annual average revenue of Penn State’s football program, 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 the university,” said a statement from the NCAA quoted in ESPN.
Noticeably, the NCAA levied the sanctions without first conducting its own investigation. Going through its traditional infractions process would have meant a wait of at least a year before announcing penalities. ESPN says that, in the case of Penn State and the Sandusky scandal, the NCAA “appeared to use the Freeh report … instead of its own investigation.”
The report, conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh and commissioned by Penn State’s trustees, found that Paterno, former university president Graham Spanier and other Penn State officials had shown “total disregard” to protect children from abuse bySandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse in June.
NCAA president Mark Emmert emphasized that “no price the NCAA can levy will repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims.” He stated that “the culture, actions and inactions that allowed them to be victimized will not be tolerated in collegiate athletics” and said that he hoped the NCAA’s sanctions would “reflect the magnitude of these terrible act and ensure Penn State will rebuild an athletic culture that went horribly awry.”
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