NCAA President Mark Emmert - the ex-University of Washington president - today announced a stunning series of punishments for Penn State University including a $60 million fine and bowl ban, and did what a lot of football teams weren't able to do - turn the Nittany Lions into perennial losers by vacating all of the school's gridiron victories from 1998 to 2011.
As a result, onetime revered coach Joe Paterno is no longer the sport's all-time winningest coach, his record now reduced by 111 erased wins. That leaves Paterno, who died in January, with 298 all-time victories and drops him to no. 12 on the all-time coach wins list, the Washington Post reports. Grambling's Eddie Robinson now ranks first among high-level college football coaches, with 408 victories.
The NCAA issued the penalties for the school's involvement and cover-up in the sexual abuse scandal that centered on former coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno and other Penn State officials knew of Sandusky's abuse but failed to take any prompt actions. Sandusky, found guilty last month on 45 counts related to sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period, awaits sentencing.
"The Penn State case has provoked in all of us powerful emotions and shaken our confidence in many ways," Emmert said. "After much debate, we concluded the sanctions needed to reflect our mission of cultural change."
The school will lose 10 football scholarships for new students starting in 2013-14, and, starting in 2014-2015, will have to reduce total scholarships by 20 for four years. The school will be placed on probation for five years, and endure a four-year postseason ban.
The penalties are likely to cripple a powerhouse football program, although Emmert said the school has already signed a consent decree, agreeing to accept the penalties. The university, with a new board chair and president, has already "demonstrated a strong desire and determination...to right these severe wrongs," he said.