Pennsylvania State University was fined $60 million as college sports’ governing body penalized the school for its handling of a child sex-abuse case involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. It avoided the stiffest punishment, a shutdown of the football program that was at the center of the scandal.The school also was stripped of all its wins from 1998 through 2011, barred from postseason games for four years and lost 20 total scholarships annually for four seasons, according to a release from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.The discipline announced by the NCAA avoided the so-called death penalty against the program where Joe Paterno, the coach who won a record 409 games, became a focus of the scandal. Paterno’s record will also lose the victories he recorded as coach from 1998 through last season.“One of the grave dangers of our love of sports is that the sports themselves become too big to fail,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said at a televised news conference in Indianapolis.
The NCAA statement said Penn State’s leadership had perpetuated a “football-first culture that ultimately enabled serial child sex abuse to occur.” Emmert said Penn State had agreed not to appeal the penalties.The NCAA acted against the State College, Pennsylvania-based school less than two weeks after an investigation found Paterno, who died of lung cancer in January, and other school officials tried to cover up abuse allegations. Sandusky, a football assistant coach for 31 years, was convicted last month on 45 criminal counts tied to the abuse of 10 boys over a 15- year period starting in 1994.