Penn State penalties include $60 million fine, four-year postseason ban, loss of 90 scholarships
As expected, the NCAA came down extremely hard on Penn State’s football program on Monday morning. A number of people were upset on Sunday when news surfaced that the sanctions handed down to Penn State would be “unprecedented” but not include the death penalty — or a complete suspension of play for the football program. For the football program itself, you could argue the sanctions are worse than the death penalty.
For starters, Penn State has been fined $60 million — a figure that the NCAA says is the equivalent to the football program’s average annual revenue. The school also faces a four-year postseason ban and a five-year probationary period during which individuals can be sanctioned following criminal investigation. Penn State’s football scholarships have been reduced by 10 for the upcoming season and 20 a year for the next four after that, totaling a loss of 90 scholarships.
In addition, Penn State has been forced to vacate all of its wins from 1998 to 2011. That will also reflect upon Joe Paterno’s personal coaching record, moving him out of first on the all-time win list. Over a week ago, Freeh’s investigation revealed that Paterno and other powerful figures at Penn State knew that Jerry Sandusky was investigated for allegedly showering with a young boy in 1998 but swept it under the rug, saying that what he did off of Penn State property had nothing to do with the team.
All of Penn State’s current players are free to transfer immediately without losing out on any eligibility. Players who are currently under scholarship at Penn State are free to keep their scholarships whether they choose remain with the football team or not.
Obviously, head coach Bill O’Brien has his work cut out for him. Penn State’s football program may never be the same again and certainly will be crippled for the next four years. Getting recruits to consider Penn State given the postseason ban, loss of scholarships and mere stigma that is now associated with the Nittany Lions will be almost an impossible task. As the vacant spot where Paterno’s statue used to stand reflects, the past, present or future at Penn State will never be the same.