The NCAA brought the hammer down, hard, on Penn State today. No official “death penalty” to remove football for a year, as they said it would do too much harm to those who had nothing to do with the case, but, these sanctions:
– $60 million fine, which is equal to one-year gross revenue of football program, with funds used to establish endowment to support victims of child abuse.
– No bowl games, no postseason play for four years.
– Initial football scholarships decreased from 25 to 15, capping the total number of football scholarships at 65.
– Any Penn State player can transfer without having to sit out a year.
– All current players may retain scholarships.
– All wins from 1998-2011 vacated. Paterno will vacate 111 wins, dropping his career total from 409 to 298.
– A five-year probationary period with an integrity monitor.
The NCAA used strong language, with phrases like conspiracy of silence and reckless, callous disregard for children. They made it clear that removing football for a year would have too many consequences for those who had nothing to do with this… though one can argue that these sanctions are significantly worse than taking football away for a year– both monetarily and from a football competition standpoint. No bowl games, limiting scholarships, and allowing – almost encouraging – current football players to transfer is a drastic step that will harm Penn State football for years, perhaps a decade. Perhaps more. Removing wins from the record book is a figurative gesture, but it will erase the accomplishments from over a decade of Penn State football.
The NCAA will also place Penn State on a five-year probation and will task an independent Integrity Monitor to keep tabs and report back on progress. They will look for signs that Penn State is taking key steps to put in-place measures that will prevent something like this from happening again.
The NCAA also said that, following a formal investigation, they may impose sanctions on individuals at the conclusion of criminal proceedings.
In a statement, Penn State President Rodney Erickson acknowledge the sanctions:
It is important to know we are entering a new chapter at Penn State and making necessary changes. We must create a culture in which people are not afraid to speak up, management is not compartmentalized, all are expected to demonstrate the highest ethical standards, and the operating philosophy is open, collegial, and collaborative.
Since receiving Judge Freeh’s preliminary recommendations in January, the University has instituted several reforms. Today we accept the terms of the consent decree imposed by the NCAA. As Penn State embarks upon change and progress, this announcement helps to further define our course. It is with this compass that we will strive for a better tomorrow.
Penn State will move forward with a renewed sense of commitment to excellence and integrity in all aspects of our University. We continue to recognize the important role that intercollegiate athletics provides for our student athletes and the wider University community as we strive to appropriately balance academic and athletic accomplishments. Penn State will continue to be a world-class educational institution of which our students, faculty, staff and alumni can be justifiably proud.
They'll just have to do that without competitive football for a while.