The NCAA has levied an unprecedented $60 million fine against Penn State University and is vacating all of coach Joe Paterno's victories from 1998-2011 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
At a news conference in Indianapolis, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the football team would be barred from competing in post-season play for four years and its scholarships would be cut from 20 to 15 a year. Any current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.
Read The Sanctions
He said the $60 million fine, which is equivalent to one year gross revenue from the football team, will fund an endowment to serve the victims of child sexual abuse.
"No matter what we do, there are no actions we can take that will undo the tragic damage that's been done to the victims and their families. There is no action we can take that will remove their pain and anguish," Emmert said. "Penn State should rebuild an athletic culture that went awry."
The punishment is part of the continued fallout from the child sex abuse scandal involving Sandusky, who was convicted in late June of 45 of the 48 counts he faced involving 10 young victims.
The NCAA's punishments follow an independent investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, whose report held four top Penn State officials, including iconic head football coach Joe Paterno, responsible for failing to stop the abuse.
"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," Emmert said.
Some critics had questioned the NCAA's right to impose sanctions, since the Sandusky scandal did not involve on-field issues or anything providing Penn State a competitive advantage.
But Oregon State President Ed Ray, the NCAA Chairman, said the unprecedented actions taken today were warranted by the conspiracy of silence that was maintained at the highest levels of the university in reckless and callous disregard for the children.
"Not only does the NCAA have the authority to act in this case, we also have the responsibility to say that such egregious behavior is not only against our by-laws and constitution, but also against our value system and basic human decency," Ray said.
Ray said that leadership failures at Penn State over an extended period of time directly violated rules regarding integrity, ethical conduct and the dreaded "Lack of Institutional Control" rule that often leads to the most severe penalties.
Though the NCAA stopped short of imposing the "death penalty" -- shutting down the Nittany Lions' program completely -- the punishment is still crippling for a team that is trying to start over with a new coach and a new outlook.
The Big Ten also announced sanctions Monday, barring Penn State from sharing in the conference's bowl revenues while it is banned from the postseason by the NCAA.
Paterno's family said in a statement the NCAA's sanctions defame his legacy and are a panicked response to the scandal that led to them.
Officials said they'll also go after individual violators after their criminal trials are finished, but it's questionable what they can do, since Paterno is dead and the others are either no longer employed by the university or won't be once their trials are over.
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