Penn State hit with NCAA Sanctions

July 23, 2012

NCAA President Mark Emmert did not waste any time in bringing sanctions to the Penn State football program in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

A day after a statue honoring the late Joe Paterno was taken down, the NCAA did not suspend the football program (the “death penalty”), but issued penalties with effects that could last much longer.

Shortly after 9:00 a.m. Eastern, Emmert issued these penalties for Penn State:

  • a $60 million fine, roughly the amount of revenue brought in for the program,
  • vacating all wins from 1998 through 2011,
  • a 4-year postseason ban, and
  • reducing the amount of scholarships (10 initial, 20 total) each year for 4 years.

Student athletes will be allowed to transfer and play immediately, contingent that they are eligible to play.

The penalty means that the late Paterno now drops from 1st to 12th on the all-time coaching wins list, with 298 career wins.

The money from the fine will be put into an endowment for programs that help prevent child sexual abuse.

Since word broke that the penalties would be announced on Monday, the big question became whether or not the NCAA could do this.

Easy answer:  Yes.

Penn State demonstrated a lack of institutional control, as shown in the Freeh Report, by not reporting these cases, and trying to cover-up at least two different cases involving Sandusky in 1998 and 2001.

Not only a lack of institutional control, but Penn State was also a repeat offender.  If covering it up for 14 years isn’t being a repeat offender, even if not with the NCAA, I’m not sure what is.

These penalties will cripple the Penn State football program for years, perhaps decades.  Only time will tell if these penalties will end up being worse than if the NCAA had issued its “death penalty.”

But for everything that went wrong in Happy Valley, the punishment fits the crime.

Penn State better be on its best behavior and listen to the NCAA, cause the alternative, a suspension of its football program now, would just add more salt to the wound.

By the way, Miami (FL), you’re likely next.