Penn State hit with unprecedented penalties for Sandusky scandal
By Edith Honan
(Reuters) - The governing body of U.S. college sports fined Penn State University $60 million and voided its football victories for the past 14 seasons in an unprecedented rebuke for the school's failure to stop coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said the school had put "hero worship and winning at all costs" ahead of integrity, honesty and responsibility.
Penn State was not given the so-called "death penalty" that could have suspended its football program but it was banned from post-season bowl games for four years and had the number of scholarships available to players reduced from 25 to 15.
Penn State officials were accused of not taking action after being alerted that Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was sexually abusing children. The scandal tainted one of college football's leading coaches, the late Joe Paterno, and led to his firing last year along with other top school officials.
The punishment, announced by the National College Athletic Association at a news conference in Indianapolis, was unprecedented for its swiftness and breadth. It was the latest blow to an institution still reeling from Sandusky's conviction last month on child molestation charges.
The case was another blotch on the diminishing legacy of Paterno, who until Monday's action had held the record for victories among big-time U.S. college football coaches in a career that spanned more than 40 seasons. Paterno lost that status since the NCAA's punishment includes voiding the Nittany Lions' victories between 1998 and 2011 - the time period covering when allegations against Sandusky were first made and Sandusky's arrest.
The Paterno family said on Monday the NCAA's actions "defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best."
"This is not a fair or thoughtful action; it is a panicked response to the public's understandable revulsion at what Sandusky did," the statement said. Continued...