NCAA President Mark Emmert announced sweeping sanctions against Penn State University this morning, in response to the horrific child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the school's venerable football program. The university's own investigation -- led by former FBI director Louis Freeh -- determined that top university officials and football personnel, including the late Joe Paterno, participated an extensive cover-up to protect Penn State football. These actions enabled former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky to continue to rape children, some of whom he victimized inside PSU football facilities. Emmert described the "punative and corrective" measures the NCAA has taken in response to the scandal in a press conference earlier today:
ESPN summarizes the punishment:
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.
$60 million amounts to the approximate sum of one year's gross revenue for Nitanny Lion football. Penn State now boasts zero wins from 1998 - 2011, due to serial abetment of child rape. The four-year post season ban, plus the significant scholarship reductions will significantly damage -- but not totally cripple -- PSU's ability to compete on the field. The NCAA also says it will permit transfers out of the Penn State program without enforcing the typical one-year waiting period for renewed eligibility to play. Emmert said that the organization specifically chose not to impose the so-called "death penalty" on Penn State, which would have suspended the program entirely for at least one year. Is this a just conclusion? Too harsh? Too lenient?