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NCAA Issues Heavy Sanctions Against Penn State

The NCAA has slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties, including a $60 million fine and the loss of all coach Joe Paterno's victories from 1998-2011, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was found guilty in June of sexually abusing young boys, sometimes on campus.

The NCAA sanctions come less than two weeks after former FBI Director Louis Freeh released results of a university requested investigation that found a "total disregard" for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. Freeh said President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz, Football Coach Joe Paterno and Athletic Director Tim Curley "never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest."

Other NCAA sanctions include a four-year ban on bowl games, the loss of scholarships, and being placed on probation for five years. Penn State will be limited to offering a maximum of 15 scholarships per year for four years instead of the usual cap of 25, and a total of 65 scholarships at any one time.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the staggering sanctions Monday at a news conference in Indianapolis. Emmert said that Penn State signed a consent decree with the NCAA and will not appeal the penalties.

Though the NCAA stopped short of imposing the "death penalty," shutting down the Nittany Lions' program completely, the punishment is still crippling for a team that is trying to start over with a new coach and a new outlook.

Governor Tom Corbett issued a statement reacting to the NCAA's decision. "We have taken a monster off the streets and while we will never be able to repair the injury done to these children, we must repair the damage to this university."

Corbett's statement went on to say that part of the corrective process is to accept the penalties.

"However, as governor, I am grateful that the NCAA did not impose the 'death penalty,' which would have also had a severe detrimental impact on the citizens of State College, Centre County and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Corbett said.

"I also want assurance from Penn State that no taxpayer dollars will be used to pay the $60 million fine imposed on the university today.

He added that Penn State is more than football, that it provides outstanding education in everything from scientific research and engineering to the arts and humanities.
"I am confident that the university will move forward from this experience, complete the healing process and once again be worthy of its great reputation.''

The stripping of Joe Paterno's victories means he no longer is the winningest Division One football coach in the eyes of the NCAA. Penn State yesterday removed the statue of Paterno from in front of the football stadium. The Paterno family issued a statement critical of the NCAA calling the sanctions a "panicked response" that punish Penn State students.

Meantime, new Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said he's committed to the school despite the harsh sanctions imposed Monday by the NCAA.

In a statement released by the school, O'Brien said, "I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead, but I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes."

School President Rodney Erickson said Penn State accepts the penalties. He said the NCAA sanctions will help the school "define our course."