The formerly spotless Penn State University football program is now a disgrace. Long-time coach Joe Paterno was fired and has been erased from the history books. His longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is in jail for child molestation. As for the Penn State Nittany Lions football program, the NCAA has basically killed that program with some unprecedented fines and penalties. Just how unprecedented?
Well, Penn State has been fined $60 million dollars; a record fine delivered by the NCAA. Some 14 seasons of Joe Paterno’s victories were wiped out of the history books–111 wins–knocking Paterno from number one on the all-time-wins list down to number 8; Bobby Bowden is now the new wins leader. Penn State’s football scholarships have been cut from 25 a year to 15, and its players are free to leave the program with no penalties, no delays, and no loss of eligibility. The school is also facing a four-year bowl and post-season ban.
“It was clear Penn State faced an alternative — a long-term death penalty and additional sanctions for the program, university and whole community. Given the situation, he believed the sanctions offered and accepted was the appropriate and course of action,” said Penn State spokesman David La Torre.
The NCAA had considered hitting Penn State with the NCAA death penalty, but decided against it to limit fall-out to the community and other collateral damage. As for the $60 million fine, the Big 10 also has punished Penn State to the tune of $13 million (making the school forfeit its share of bowl money), and the school faces hundreds of millions worth of potential lawsuits from children abused by Sandusky. It sounds bad, but Penn State has a $1.83 billion dollar endowment so I doubt they’ll feel much pain from the sanctions.
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