NCAA Sanctions Penn State After Child Sex Abuse Scandal
NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
Penn State has been fined $60 million and banned from bowl games for four years for turning a blind eye to the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
Speaking at the NCAA's Indianapolis headquarters, president Mark Emmert announced Penn State will be penalized the equivalent of one year's revenue from the football program. The money will fund an endowment to help victims of child molesting.
The university will lose additional money from the Big Ten conference, which says Penn State's share of money from other conference members' bowl games will instead be donated to charity.
Emmert says the organization considered the death penalty, banning Penn State from playing football at all, but concluded that would hurt people who had nothing to do with the scandal, from athletes to the marching band. Instead, he says the penalties are crafted to "change the culture" at Penn State, and ensure academics and the well-being of students do not take a back seat to athletics.
By October, the NCAA and Big Ten will draft a plan for restructuring the athletic department and its internal controls, and appoint an independent watchdog to monitor Penn State's progress toward those changes for five years. Penn State will lose 20 football scholarships a year for the next four years.
The NCAA has vacated the Nittany Lions' 111 wins in the 13 years since the first hushed-up reports of Sandusky's assaults. That drops former coach Joe Paterno from first on the Division One wins list to fifth, and wipes out two of his three Big Ten championships.
Emmert says Penn State has signed a consent decree accepting the punishment.
Passersby near the NCAA's headquarters in downtown Indianapolis say the harsh penalties handed down against Penn State are an unfortunate but appropriate step.
Several people say it's sad that Penn State football players and other students will pay part of the price for the misconduct of others. But Mike McCarthy of Fishers says Penn State's failure to take action against Sandusky left the NCAA little choice. He says he's glad the NCAA left an escape hatch for current Penn State players, giving them the choice of transferring without the usual one-year waiting period to play again.
Current players can also choose to complete their degrees at Penn State on scholarship, despite the university's loss of football scholarships.