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PSU fined $60 million, post-season football banned by NCAA - abc27 WHTM

PSU fined $60 million, post-season football banned by NCAA

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) -

Penn State football's wins from 1998 to 2011 have been vacated and the current team will be banned from post-season play for the next four years, the NCAA announced Monday morning in the wake of a report that says Penn State officials covered up child sexual abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said he was imposing the sanctions to ensure that "football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people."

Emmert made the announce at a press conference in Indianapolis Monday morning. The sanctions came just over a week after former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his investigation, which concluded that four top PSU officials, including Joe Paterno, covered up child sexual abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Freeh was hired by the Penn State Board of Trustees.

In addition to banning postseason play and vacating wins, the NCAA said Penn State must pay a $60 million fine, submit to five years of probation and academic monitoring and reduce the number of football scholarships from 25 per year to 15 per year during the next four years.

The removal of wins from 1998 to 2011 means Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in Division I history. He is now 12th on the list for the most wins among major college football coaches.

In light of these changes, the NCAA has said they will allow any current or incoming players to immediately transfer without missing a year of competition, as NCAA rules regularly require. The NCAA also said they are considering waiving scholarship limits for programs that accept these transfer students.

Gov. Tom Corbett, who also sits on the board of trustees, said PSU will not be using taxpayer money to pay the $60 million fine. The money will be paid out - over a five year period - to programs that assist victims of child sexual abuse or work to prevent abuse.

Additional details regarding the sanctions can be found on the NCAA's website: http://bit.ly/MiPyeR.

Shortly after the NCAA made their announcement, Penn State President Rodney Erickson confirmed that the university had accepted the penalties.

"It is important to know we are entering a new chapter at Penn State," he said. "We must create a culture in which people are not afraid to speak up, management is not compartmentalized, all are expected to demonstrate the highest ethical standards, and the operating philosophy is open, collegial, and collaborative."

Erickson also added, the fine "of $60 million can never reduce the pain suffered by victims, but will help provide them hope and healing".

Current PSU head football coach Bill O'Brien took over after Joe Paterno was fired last year. In a statement today he said he is prepared to move the university forward.

"Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as Head Coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence."

Originally, some thought the NCAA was going to cancel the football program altogether and impose what is know as the 'death penalty.' Corbett said Monday he was grateful the NCAA did not impose this punishment saying, it "would have also had a severe detrimental impact on the citizens of State College, Centre County and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Acting Athletic Director David Joyner is also grateful the program can move forward but said he is "deeply disappointed that some of our leaders could have turned a blind eye to such abuse."

Joyner said he agrees with Emmert, who said the culture at Penn State must change.

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