Just a day after once beloved coach Joe Pat Paterno’s statue was taken down, the NCAA has handed down strict sanctions against the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex trial.
The NCAA ordered Penn State to pay $60 million in fines and banned the team from post-season play for four years. Additionally, the football program will lose 10 scholarships per year for the duration of the sanctions, and current players will be allowed to transfer schools without losing their eligibility.
NCAA president Mark Emmert discussed the harsh sanctions during a press conference:
“In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable. No price the NCAA can levy will repair the grievous damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims,” Emmert said.
The NCAA said the $60 million was equivalent to the average annual revenue of the football program. The NCAA ordered Penn State to pay the penalty funds 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.”
With the wins from 1998-2011 vacated, Paterno moves from 409 wins to 298, dropping him from first to 12th on the winningest NCAA football coach list. Penn State also will have six bowl wins and two conference championships erased.
The Penn State athletic program also will be put on a five-year probation and must work with an athletic-integrity monitor of NCAA’s choosing. Any current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.
The NCAA decision comes just weeks after a report by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh found that Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, as well as other university officials, concealed sexual abuse claims levied against former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky. Last month, Sandusky was convicted on multiple accounts of child abuse and assault and is awaiting sentencing.
While many wondered whether or not the NCAA would move to kill Penn State’s football program, suspending it for a year, others see this move as far worse. The lack of revenue from the program, coupled with the loss of scholarships, will most certainly make it difficult for the Penn State football team to compete with other top-tier programs in the coming years.