by Rana Cash-The Sporting News
NCAA president Mark Emmert did not deliver Penn State the death penalty Monday. Rather, Emmert sentenced the university and the football program to a decades-long imprisonment.
That’s how long it might take for Penn State to see the light of day again after arguably the most severe sanctions in college sports history were levied. The toll for its actions:
— A $60 million fine, equal to one year's revenue for the Penn State football program
— 10 scholarship losses for each of the next four years
— A four-year postseason ban
— All wins vacated from 1998-2011
— All players can transfer and be immediately eligible
— A five-year probation
"The lesson here is one of maintaining the appropriate balance of our values," Emmert said. "...If you find yourself in a position where the athletic culture is taking precedent over academic culture, a variety of bad things can occur."
Penn State is not expected to challenge or appeal the NCAA's findings.
In handing down this punishment, the NCAA did not in any way resemble itself. There was no notice of allegations. No 90-day period for Penn State to respond. No waiting period while the NCAA considered its course.
In November, Emmert sent Penn State a letter demanding answers to questions involving ethics, compliance and institutional control. As soon as the Freeh Report was released, the NCAA wanted immediate answers.
The independent investigation conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh, was lengthy, exhaustive and explosive. It took eight months, Freeh’s team interviewed more than 400 people, pored through an unthinkable number of documents and closed the book with 237 pages of staggering revelations.
Among them: Former coach Joe Paterno, whose presence engulfed the football program and the university, cared more about protecting the program’s image than he did the lives of the young victims being attacked year after year by Jerry Sandusky.
Confronted with allegations made by former assistant coach Mike McQueary that Sandusky had raped a boy in the Lasch Building showers, Paterno told Sandusky was arrested in November 2011 and in June was convicted on 45 counts of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a 15-year period.
On Sunday, the iconic image of Paterno—a 7-foot, 900-pound bronze statue—was removed from outside Beaver Stadium. It left behind a gaping hole where greatness once stood. Just like the one left in the heart of Penn State on Monday.