NCAA president Mark Emmert, appalled by the egregious mishandling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case at Penn State, announced today that the school has been hit with $60 in fines and banned it from bowl games for four years and has all of its victories since 1998 vacated– an enormous and unprecedented punishment.
“These funds must be paid 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,” the NCAA said in statement.
Significantly, the career record of former head football coach Joe Paterno will be hit by the vacated wins, the statement continued, making Grambling coach, the late Eddie Robinson, the all-time leader in NCAA career wins with 408. He was one behind Paterno before this announement.
Additionally, Penn State loses 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year over the four-year period.
Emmert expressed his personal disgust with the situation. “In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable,” he said.
“No price the NCAA can levy will repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims,” he said, referring to the former Penn State defensive coordinator convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse last month.
According to the NCAA, the $60 million is equivalent to what the Nittany Lions program makes in a year.
“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 the powerful people who let them down.”
The Freeh report concluded Paterno and other Penn State leaders knowingly did nothing to report Sandusky to authority or prevent other abuses because they wanted to protect the image of the school and program.
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.”
ESPN reported that the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and/or the NCAA Executive Committee granted Emmert the authority to punish through the nontraditional methods.