Unprecedented NCAA sanctions for Penn State

Rick Moran
Penn State was hit with "unprecedented" sanctions by the NCAA that will reduce the national football powerhouse to near poverty and damage the program for many years to come.

The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning.

The career record of Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records, the NCAA said.

Penn State must also reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period.

That $60 million represents the income for an entire year for the football program. The number of scholarships Penn State can give will be cut by a third. And taking those victories away means that Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in the history of college football:

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 drops from 409 wins to 298, dropping him from first to 12th on the winningest NCAA football coach list. Penn State will also have six bowl wins and two conference championships erased.

The Penn State athletic program will also be put on five-year probation and must work with an athletic-integrity monitor of NCAA's chosing.

"There is incredible interest in what will happen to Penn State football," Ray said at the news conference. "But the fundamental chapter of this horrific story should focus on the innocent children and and the powerful people who let them down."

Penn State may fight this judgment. The Infractions Committee of the NCAA violated its own rules in moving swiftly to penalize the university:

The NCAA took unprecedented measures with the decision to penalize Penn State without the due process of a Committee on Infractions hearing, bypassing a system in which it conducts its own investigations, issues a notice of allegations and then allows the university 90 days to respond before a hearing is scheduled.

Following the hearing, the Infractions Committee then usually takes a minimum of six weeks, but it can take upwards of a year to issue its findings.

But in the case of Penn State, the NCAA appeared to use the Freeh report -- commissioned by the school's board of trustees -- instead of its own investigation.

"We cannot look to NCAA history to determine how to handle circumstances so disturbing, shocking and disappointing," Emmert said in the statement. "As the individuals charged with governing college sports, we have a responsibility to act. These events should serve as a call to every single school and athletics department to take an honest look at its campus environment and eradicate the 'sports are king' mindset that can so dramatically cloud the judgment of educators."

NCAA Division I Board of Directors and/or the NCAA Executive Committee granted Emmert the authority to punish through the nontraditional methods.

"It was a unanimous act," Ray said. "We needed to act."

The university has hired a high powered lawyer familiar with the infractions regimen, but since the NCAA is a private institution, and the infractions committee operates with a broad mandate, it is hard to see how Penn State could successfully challenge the decision.

The real suprise was how the committee punished Joe Paterno posthumously. I wonder if they would have handed down the same penalty if Paterno was alive? Dropping him from 1st to 12th in the all time rankings would have been a humiliating step if Paterno had been around to see it.





Penn State was hit with "unprecedented" sanctions by the NCAA that will reduce the national football powerhouse to near poverty and damage the program for many years to come.

The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning.

The career record of Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records, the NCAA said.

Penn State must also reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period.

That $60 million represents the income for an entire year for the football program. The number of scholarships Penn State can give will be cut by a third. And taking those victories away means that Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in the history of college football:

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 drops from 409 wins to 298, dropping him from first to 12th on the winningest NCAA football coach list. Penn State will also have six bowl wins and two conference championships erased.

The Penn State athletic program will also be put on five-year probation and must work with an athletic-integrity monitor of NCAA's chosing.

"There is incredible interest in what will happen to Penn State football," Ray said at the news conference. "But the fundamental chapter of this horrific story should focus on the innocent children and and the powerful people who let them down."

Penn State may fight this judgment. The Infractions Committee of the NCAA violated its own rules in moving swiftly to penalize the university:

The NCAA took unprecedented measures with the decision to penalize Penn State without the due process of a Committee on Infractions hearing, bypassing a system in which it conducts its own investigations, issues a notice of allegations and then allows the university 90 days to respond before a hearing is scheduled.

Following the hearing, the Infractions Committee then usually takes a minimum of six weeks, but it can take upwards of a year to issue its findings.

But in the case of Penn State, the NCAA appeared to use the Freeh report -- commissioned by the school's board of trustees -- instead of its own investigation.

"We cannot look to NCAA history to determine how to handle circumstances so disturbing, shocking and disappointing," Emmert said in the statement. "As the individuals charged with governing college sports, we have a responsibility to act. These events should serve as a call to every single school and athletics department to take an honest look at its campus environment and eradicate the 'sports are king' mindset that can so dramatically cloud the judgment of educators."

NCAA Division I Board of Directors and/or the NCAA Executive Committee granted Emmert the authority to punish through the nontraditional methods.

"It was a unanimous act," Ray said. "We needed to act."

The university has hired a high powered lawyer familiar with the infractions regimen, but since the NCAA is a private institution, and the infractions committee operates with a broad mandate, it is hard to see how Penn State could successfully challenge the decision.

The real suprise was how the committee punished Joe Paterno posthumously. I wonder if they would have handed down the same penalty if Paterno was alive? Dropping him from 1st to 12th in the all time rankings would have been a humiliating step if Paterno had been around to see it.