The NCAA announced Sunday it would dole out “corrective and punitive measures” against Penn State in the wake of the scandal and subsequent cover up of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s repeated sexual assaults.
The penalties include a four-year bowl ban, a $60 million fine, a five-year probation period, scholarship reductions and a vacation of all wins from 1998-2011.
“We fully support the NCAA, who has the authority and responsibility to act on what is clearly a tragic and difficult situation,” University Spokesperson Kent Cassella said in a statement.
“Additionally, MSU and President Lou Anna K. Simon stands with the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten institutions in the actions the conference announced today.”
For four years beginning with the 2013 recruiting class, Penn State will be able to offer 15 scholarships per year — 10 less than the maximum amount. From 2014-17, the Nittany Lions only can have 65 scholarship players on their roster, which is 20 less than normal. The next year Penn State can offer the full amount of scholarships and carry 85 scholarship players is 2018.
The 111 vacated wins effectively removes former head coach Joe Paterno’s status as Division I’s all-time winningest coach. The late Paterno — who died in January of lung cancer at age 85 — now stands seventh on that list.
“This is a difficult day for the Big Ten conference,” said Sally Mason, Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors chair and University of Iowa president in a conference call with the media.
“Those victims and their plight remain at the center of our thoughts. No words today can restore what was taken from them.”
Hours after the NCAA handed down penalties, the Big Ten announced its own punishment including the loss of bowl revenue for the next four years, estimated at $13 million, censure and barred the program from competing in the Big Ten Championship game.
“We had discussions the full range of opportunities in terms of what we as a conference might or should do with regards to Penn State,” Mason said.
“So everything was on the table, everything was discussed.”
The sanctions mean only four teams will compete for the Big Ten Leaders division title this fall, as Ohio State also is barred from postseason play in 2012.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said that the conference has no intentions of divisional realignment.
“I think that clearly will have a competitive impact,” Delany said in a conference call. “I think to say it wouldn’t, would not be what I think.”
MSU alumnus David Miller said although the penalties will have a negative effect on on-field performance, the university’s reputation is taking the most damage in this situation.
“Yeah, it’s harsh that they did that to them, but I feel like (the NCAA is) trying to set an example for other programs that could have corruption, like ‘Hey, if you get caught doing this stuff, we’re not joking around,’” Miller said.
Rather than levy punishment on the football program, human biology junior Alex Kaechele said he would prefer Penn State to focus more on creating preventative measures to ensure another scandal of this magnitude would never occur again.
“I think it’s stupid because it’s only a very small group of people that ended up having a play in the whole situation,” Kaechele said. “I don’t think the whole student body should be at expense for that.”