The NCAA imposed a number of penalties on the Penn State football program Monday — including a $60 million fine used to support programs against child sexual abuse, a four-year bowl and postseason ban, reduction of scholarships from 25 to 15 and vacating all wins from 1998 to 2011 — in response to the university's failures to appropriately report incidents of child sexual abuse involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the penalties at a press conference in Indianapolis, Ind., just after 9 a.m. Monday morning. Penn State President Rodney Erickson has been informed of the NCAA’s findings and penalties, Emmert said, and Penn State signed a consent agreement.
In a statement issued shortly after the NCAA sanctions were announced, Erickson was receptive to the sanctions dealt by the NCAA and noted that this represents a "significant step forward."
"The NCAA ruling holds the University accountable for the failure of those in power to protect children and insists that all areas of the University community are held to the same high standards of honesty and integrity," Erickson said in the statement.
With regard to the $60 million fine levied by the NCAA, Erickson clarified that Penn State will pay $12 million per year for five years "into a special endowment created to fund programs for the detection, prevention and treatment of child abuse."
Among other measures imposed by the NCAA today, Penn State's NCAA athletes will be allowed to transfer without penalty, Emmert said, and the NCAA is also reserving the right to initiate investigation and discipline individuals.
The organization is also requiring Penn State to adopt the formal reform outlined in Chapter 10 of the Freeh report, “Recommendations for University Governance, Administration, and the Protection of Children in University Facilities and Programs.”
Emmert said Penn State will also be required to accept an athletic integrity agreement with the NCAA and the Big 10, and the university must also work with an athletic integrity monitor, selected by the NCAA to report to that organization, the Big 10 and the Penn State Board of Trustees.
While NCAA officials discussed the possibility of imposing a “death penalty” on Penn State football, Emmert said he and other officials felt that would not punish the appropriate individuals in this case. The sanctions issued, he said, needed to instead reflect a goal of driving cultural change as much as issuing punishments — and the ones imposed will allow the university to focus on reform rather than concentrate on whether it will go to a bowl.
“The sanctions we have crafted are more focused and impactful than that blanket penalty,” Emmert said.
Emmert first indicated that his organization would be looking into Penn State's handling of the reports involving Sandusky in a November letter addressed to Penn State President Rodney Erickson in the wake of Sandusky's indictment by a grand jury.
Penn State players met at the Lasch Football Building Monday morning. As a large media contingent waited outside the building, players filed in and out, many wearing headphones and keeping their heads down.
None had comment on Penn State's situation.
Almost immediately after former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his investigative report on July 12 that said former football coach Joe Paterno, former Athletic Director Tim Curley, former Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz and former university President Graham Spanier failed to take the proper steps to protect children from Sandusky although they knew about two separate incidents involving Sandusky and boys, the NCAA released another statement prompting Penn State to respond to the November letter.
Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse by a Centre County jury in June. He is currently awaiting sentencing. Curley and Schultz await trial on charges of perjury and failing to report suspected abuse. Paterno died of lung cancer in January and his bronze statue that stood outside Beaver Stadium was removed on Sunday.