This morning, NCAA President Mark Emmert officially announced the sanctions for Penn State University and its football program in the wake of what I can only call an incredibly bizarre and unbelievable scandal. Emmert made it clear before this morning’s announcement that PSU football would not receive the “death penalty” as punishment for coaches and administrators covering up the sexual assaults of former coach Jerry Sandusky, but that appears to have just been lip service. What Penn State actually received was the lethal injection to Southern Methodist's firing squad.
With current Nittany Lions players and recruits already de-committing this morning, the official word is that the school will be fined $60 million that will go toward a foundation and trust that will help children and adults who have been sexually abused. PSU will also lose as many as 65 scholarships over the next 4 years, and all current players will be allowed to transfer with no penalty (meaning they can play right away). Additionally, the program is banned from postseason play for the next 4 years and will be on probation for the next 5 years. And every one of the Lions’ wins from 1998-2011 is vacated, bowls included.
That means that Joe Paterno, whose statue was removed from Beaver Stadium as Penn State fans and alumni watched and paid their respect over the weekend (pics after the jump), is no longer the NCAA’s all-time wins leader. That honor reverts to Eddie Robinson, who now once again leads Division 1 coaches with an all-time win total of 408. Bobby Bowden, who also had 12 wins previously vacated, becomes the all-time Division 1-A wins leader with 377. My goodness, Wikipedia sure gets updated fast these days.
After all of that, many people are still clogging the Twitters, debating whether or not this is “fair” or “enough”, or if the NCAA is simply making a terribly hollow gesture. I have no idea. I’m not an expert, so I'll leave that up to the network talking heads. As the NCAA brass pointed out with bravado, we’ve never seen anything like this before, but it also shouldn't take press conferences and athletes being punished to make sure it won't happen again. Alas, here we are.
UPDATE: Let us not forget the divine hammer of justice that the Big Ten will impose as well.