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Penn State hit with $60M fine, vacates all wins since 1998

Courtesy of MCT

After a university-wide cover up of a child sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, the NCAA struck Penn State with a $60 million sanction and must vacate all wins since 1998.

Penn State will lose 40 scholarships over the next four years in addition to a bowl ban and Big Ten championship ban over that same duration.

That will reduce the football team to 65 scholarships by the 2014 season.

The NCAA has permitted all current Nittany Lions players, if they wish, to transfer immediately.

At a Monday morning press conference at the NCAA’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind., the NCAA delivered perhaps the harshest penalty in the history of college sports.

The NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, said Penn State’s behavior was “egregious” and that it contradicted not only basic bylaws but “our value system” and “basic human dignity.”

It was a “conspiracy of silence,” he said, that needed to be corrected.

Emmert called Penn State’s day of reckoning a “gut check” and said its swift and severe punishment was in part to send a message of what may happen when athletics begin to overwhelm “the core values of an institution.”.

“That’s the balance that every university needs to strike,” Emmert said.

Over the next 10 weeks, the NCAA will help Penn State implement a “culture change” and will develop an athletics integrity agreement which will provide “a roadmap for changing the culture inside athletics” and putting in place “more formal control structures.”

Next, at the university’s expense, Penn State must appoint an external third-party monitor who will report quarterly for the next five years to the NCAA, the university’s board of trustees and the Big Ten conference.

For his part, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said that it was a “sad day.”

“It is a sad day and our thoughts continue to be with the victim,” Smith said in a statement obtained by The Lantern. “Mark Emmert and Ed Ray spoke eloquently today about the NCAA’s decision.”

The NCAA’s ruling is just the latest episode in what has been an ongoing saga in State College, Pa.

On July 12, a university-funded investigative report by former FBI director, Louis Freeh, found that former Penn State president, Graham Spanier, former vice-president Gary Schultz, athletic director Tim Curley and former, late football coach, Joe Paterno, all aided in concealing allegations of child sexual abuse since 1998.

Emmert applauded Penn State’s Freeh report as an “unprecedented degree of openness.”

Sunday morning, Penn State officials made the call to take down the statue of Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium.

Of the 112 Penn State victories, 111 of them were Paterno’s, dethroning him as college football’s all-time wins leader.

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