NCAA Hits Penn State With Crippling Penalties

The NCAA more than lived up to the hype of "unprecedented" sanctions.

Rumors of unprecedented NCAA sanctions on Penn State for its role in allowing Jerry Sandusky to continue molesting children surfaced yesterday. The NCAA more than lived up to the hype, issuing sanctions that will cripple the football program for years to come.

ESPN (“Penn State sanctions: $60M, bowl ban“):

The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning.

The career record of Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records, the NCAA said.

Penn State must also reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period.

The NCAA revealed the sanctions as NCAA president Mark Emmert and Ed Ray, the chairman of the NCAA’s executive committee and Oregon State’s president, spoke at a news conference in Indianapolis at the organization’s headquarters.

“In the Penn State case, the results were perverse and unconscionable,” Emmert said.

“No price the NCAA can levy with repair the damage inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on his victims,” he said, referring to the former Penn State defensive coordinator convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse last month.

The NCAA said the $60 million was equivalent to the average annual revenue of the football program. The NCAA ordered Penn State to pay the penalty funds into an endowment for “external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at the university.”

With the wins from 1998-2011 vacated, Paterno moves from 409 wins to 298, dropping him from first to 12th on the winningest NCAA football coach list. Penn State will also have six bowl wins and two conference championships erased.

The Penn State athletic program will also be put on five-year probation and must work with an athletic-integrity monitor of NCAA’s chosing.

“There is incredible interest in what will happen to Penn State football,” Ray said at the news conference. “But the fundamental chapter of this horrific story should focus on the innocent children and and the powerful people who let them down.”

The Big Ten will also sanction Penn State. The conference has called an 11 a.m. ET news conference to announce league-related penalties.

While technically not the “death penalty,” such as that which shut down Southern Methodist University’s football program entirely for one year and took away all home games the next, this may in fact be more devastating. It will be next to impossible to recruit blue chip players to Penn State for the next three years and, by that time, incoming 17-year-olds will be more familiar with the school’s reputation for abetting child rapists than its long-ago winning football traditions.

Was this just?

Given the NCAA’s harsh penalties for comparatively minor violations of its arcane rules to gain an advantage on the field, it’s hard to see how they could have done less. Compared to the actions that got SMU the “death penalty” a quarter century ago and even the transgressions that got Ohio State, Southern Cal, and Alabama hit hard in recent years, Penn State’s actions here were far, far worse.

On the other hand, as Jay Bilas and others have noted, Penn State didn’t actually violate the NCAA rulebook in this case. The Pennsylvania criminal code and universal standards of human decency, yes; NCAA rules, no. Indeed, it’s not even clear that the NCAA has jurisdiction here.

The other problem—as is always the case with NCAA sanctions—is that the brunt is borne by those who had little to do with the infractions. Jerry Sandusky is going to prison for a long, long time. Joe Paterno is dead. Graham Spanier and other officials who assisted his cover-up have been fired. So, the penalties are going to be felt by administrators, coaches, and players who had nothing to do with enabling child rape.

Wiping out Penn State’s records for thirteen years is Orwellian. They won those games and, frankly, as heinous as the cover-up was, the impact wasn’t on the football field. So, now, Bobby Bowden has artificially become the winningest coach in big time college football history. Does anyone really think that’s the case?

UPDATE: As had been rumored, Penn State is going to take the sanctions without appeal or complaint.

The Patriot-News (“Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner issues statement following NCAA sanctions“):

Athletic director Dave Joyner issued this statement in reaction to the NCAA sanctions that were imposed on Penn State today after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

“The Freeh Report concluded that individuals at Penn State University entrusted to positions of authority, shunned their basic responsibility to protect children, and innocent children suffered as a result. Our hearts go out to the victims of this abuse and their families.

“Today Penn State takes another step forward in changing the culture at the institution as we accept the penalties of the NCAA for the failure of leadership that occurred on our campus. We are deeply disappointed that some of our leaders could have turned a blind eye to such abuse, and agree that the culture at Penn State must change.

“As we move forward, today’s student athletes have a challenging road ahead. But they will do the right thing, as they have always done. I am confident all of our head coaches will come together to make the change necessary to drive our university forward. Penn State will continue to fully support its established athletic programs, which provide opportunities for over 800 student athletes.

“Working together, the path ahead will not be easy. But it is necessary, just, and will bring a better future. Our faculty, staff, students, athletes, and parents will work together as Penn State begins this new chapter. Though this cooperation and collaboration, Penn State will become a national model for compliance, ethics, and embodiment of the student athlete credo.”

So far as I know, no relation.

FILED UNDER: Education, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. I wonder how the NCAA arrives at $60M and how they expect Penn State to pay. I know the program was “rich” but are they sitting on that kind of cash?

    … it could be my law of large markets again. With many more people watching essentially the same number of top teams, the amount of money in motion grows and grows.

  2. Jim Tantillo says:

    It’s a public university. It hurts the taxpayers of Pennsylvania primarily.

  3. EddieInCA says:

    @john personna:

    I know the program was “rich” but are they sitting on that kind of cash?

    Yes. They are.

    The Penn State football program, which Forbes magazine rated as the third-most valuable in the NCAA, netted about $53.2 million for the 44,000-student university in 2010, according to the federal Office of Postsecondary Education database.

    That’s just one year.

  4. JKB says:

    Really, I can’t see any other school permitting their teams to play at the Penn State rape facilities. So in effect, they should have a ban on home games.

    The vacation of wins is odd unless there is some indication that raping small boys in the team showers and at team hotels somehow had a material impact on those wins. Even if Paterno and the Penn state officials proven to be men of honor and decency when first aware of the rapes, it seems a stretch to think properly dealing with Sandusky back then would have materially impacted the wins.

  5. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I can’t imagine that the Big 10 is going to want them to stay in the conference with these penalties.

    I also have a hard time believing that they would have vacated Paterno’s win record if he were stil alive.

    @Jim Tantillo: You vastly overestimate the amount of taxpayer money that goes to Penn State.

  6. arthropod says:

    That’s one of the more poignant photos I’ve seen in a while. Ozymandias, king of kings.

  7. Jeremy says:

    I too feel the vacation of so many wins is also a bit over the top, but the way I see it, the NCAA is trying to send a message to other programs. That they’re the National Collegiate Athletic Association, not the National Criminal Athletic Association. It doesn’t matter if they have jurisdiction or not, they want to stop other athletic programs from aiding and abetting criminals and doing it under the NCAA banner. It is about punishing Penn State, but its more about warning other progams from doing anything similar. A containment strategy, if you will.

  8. J-Dub says:

    The statue of Joe Paterno was holding up a single finger as if to say “it would have taken only one phone call to police to prevent all this”.

  9. SJ Reidhead says:

    I gather all that matters is football. Frankly, I don’t think what happened to Penn State is enough. I think Paterno’s legacy should be absolutely destroyed, as should be the entire football program. Lives have been shattered. But, I gather molested children don’t count. Having had my life shattered by a small community version of what happened at Penn State, via an educator, trust me, this is not enough. What bothers me the most is that people just don’t seem to “get” what happens to a child once they have been molested.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

  10. sam says:

    @Jim Tantillo:

    It’s a public university. It hurts the taxpayers of Pennsylvania primarily.

    Perhaps the taxpayers of Pennsylvania should demand more of their University than it win a bunch of football games.

  11. Rob in CT says:

    You know… I get wanting to tear it down. I do. But does tearing it down help, or is it simply vengence?

    I don’t much like football, and I’m generally of the opinion that we value big sports (“big” as in sports that money-making machines like D1 college football) far too much in this country… but again, is this going to help someone? Is it going to prevent children from being raped in the future?

    Maybe there are good answers to these questions, but they’re not coming to mind. The best suggestion I’ve seen yet is Jeremy’s “warning to others.” I guess…

  12. PD Shaw says:

    @john personna:” I wonder how the NCAA arrives at $60M and how they expect Penn State to pay.”

    In the announcement NCAA characterized the figure as one year’s revenue. (If its not clear from EddieInCA’s comment)

  13. Nikki says:

    You know… I get wanting to tear it down. I do. But does tearing it down help, or is it simply vengence?

    This isn’t about tearing anything down. This is about creating an environment where no NCAA-related university will EVER consider the glory of its athletic department more valuable than basic morality ever again.

  14. Franklin says:

    @Jeremy:

    It is about punishing Penn State, but its more about warning other progams from doing anything similar. A containment strategy, if you will.

    Outside of Michigan, some of you may not be aware, but it’s possible that the PSU scandal has already resulted in changes. The University of Michigan had its own little scandal but waited six months to report it to police (not coincidentally, around the time the other scandal was breaking): http://www.annarbor.com/news/crime/university-of-michigan-officials-didnt-report-child-porn-to-police-for-six-months/

    I’d say the punishment certainly is a warning to others.

  15. @SJ Reidhead:

    You might misunderstand my comment. I’m not a particular fan of college football. At first reading the penalty looked large enough to do what Nikki and others say, get everybody else in line. And $60M looks like it should do some good, re-applied.

    That these programs have that kind of money is not totally an unrelated problem. If the coaches were “protecting football” they were also “protecting $50-$60 million dollars a year.”

  16. Peacewood says:

    The wins should absolutely be taken away.

    Consider: suppose Sandusky had been reported back when he was first discovered. Penn State would have had to deal with a crippling criminal investigation, the damage to its public image of having a pedophile predator on its staff, etc. All this would have taken time and energy away from recruiting, practice, and so on.

    The only reason they didn’t report Sandusky is because they were afraid of the damage it would do to the football team. So they let Sandusky slide and harm other kids, all the while reaping the benefits of not having to deal with a criminal investigation and tarnishing of their public image.

    Take them away.

  17. PD Shaw says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:” I can’t imagine that the Big 10 is going to want them to stay in the conference with these penalties.”

    As a fan of of the other Big10 programs, I would prefer they be kicked out, but don’t see it actually happening. If they had gotten the death penalty, yes, and I suspect that went into the NCAA’s decision.

    Penn State was brought into the Conference for cynical reasons, and I expect the other schools right now are concentrating on taking away Penn State players and won’t want to rock the boat until the carcass is clean.

  18. Mikey says:

    It’s a shame we can’t resurrect Joe Paterno so he can see the consequences of what he allowed to happen, what he covered up for so long. He got off easy, dying first.

  19. PD Shaw says:

    Just as I post that, Big Ten announces Penn State will be ineligible for the various post-season games during the four years (obvious), and ineligible to share in the revenue from them, estimated to be $13 million during the four years. Link

  20. Rob in CT says:

    @Nikki:

    I sure hope that’s the result.

  21. Anderson says:

    Won’t the fine just suck money out of academics without itself hurting the program?

  22. @john personna:

    I wonder how the NCAA arrives at $60M and how they expect Penn State to pay.

    The $60 million figure was chosen as it represents one year of Penn State’s football revenue. Which also explains how the University is expected to pay it.

  23. I think Penn State got of lucky. The school certainly deserved teh death penalty, although I’m not sure the rest of Central PA deserved the economic effects that likely would have resulted, so in that sense I think the NCAA choose to go easy on the school out of a desire to not bankrupt thousands of families well beyond the bound of the university.

  24. @Stormy Dragon:

    I would not call these sanctions “going easy.” Indeed in the long term I think the impact of this package of sanctions could be worse than a one year suspension of the football program.

  25. @Anderson:

    Won’t the fine just suck money out of academics without itself hurting the program?

    Penn State keeps it’s athletic operations segregated from its academic operations. If there is going to be fall out, it’s likely to be on other sports teams, although I imagine the most likely result is to delay capital projects in order to make up for it.

  26. Andy says:

    Well, I wonder how Bobby Bowden feels about vacating the record. I kind of doubt he’s going to go around announcing himself as the winningest coach.

    I agree with all of the decision except that part – it just seems bizarre to wipe a record away by fiat.

  27. Nikki says:

    @Andy: See Peacewood’s comment above.

  28. JKB says:

    @Anderson: Won’t the fine just suck money out of academics without itself hurting the program?

    Given the quality of scholarship at Penn State with Michael Mann, I’m not sure why that would be a concern.

    Fun fact: The same university president and board that covered up child rape, found not problem with Mann’s falsified research at Penn State

  29. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @PD Shaw: I guess I wonder who is going to want to play there now? Anyone untainted by the scandal, with any talent and the willingness to be poached, probably will be. I imagine coaches and staff that are able will be out ASAP, and most of the best players will take a year to transfer out (kind of too late now for this year).

    The revenue and prestige loss is going to kill funding for other programs, too. The scholarship hit should allow Penn State to have a commensurate reduction in scholarships (in $$) on the various women’s teams.

    I guess I don’t see how they come out of this as a viable member school of the Big 10, across the board. Unless everyone wants to have a punching bag for the next decade.

    (Side note: I’m okay with the sanctions, and think they are appropriate. I am just contemplating consequences.)

  30. @JKB:

    That you went there shows what a sick f*k you are.

    A 2006 report by the United States National Academy of Sciences supported the conclusions represented by the graph, especially during the period subsequent to 1600 AD, but was critical of the manner in which results from earlier periods were communicated.[20] Mann has said his findings have been “independently verified by independent teams using alternative methods and alternative data sources.”[21] More than a dozen subsequent scientific papers produced reconstructions broadly similar to the original graph, and almost all agreed that the warmest decade in the last thousand years was probably that at the end of the 20th century.[22]

    But then, that’s just “science.”

  31. @Doug Mataconis:

    I would not call these sanctions “going easy.”

    Taking the school just by itself, I think they deserved a five year suspension, so relative to that this is going easy. But as I said, I’m not sure that Central PA deserved the economic devastation that would have resulted.

    The sad thing is that there’s apparently a big chunk of alumni pissed that the school isn’t fighting the sanctions. The good news is that the next four years are likely to demonstrate which of the alumni actually cared about the school and which only cared about winning football.

  32. @Andy:

    I agree with all of the decision except that part – it just seems bizarre to wipe a record away by fiat.

    Makes perfect sense to me. It’s quite likely that record was one of the things that kept this going. Paterno managed to hang on until 409 before the house of cards collapsed. The NCAA wants to send a message that if you cover up something like this, when it eventually comes out you’ll lose everything you benefited from it.

  33. Andy says:

    @Nikki: That’s a counterfactual and so we’ll never know. I’m mainly curious about the practical problem of the NCAA simply changing win history by fiat. It reminds me of Trotsky being airbrushed out of photos by the Soviets. It also damages the players who won those games – needlessly IMO.

    I do agree with the rest of the decision, however. This will cripple the football program for many years. I can only hope that PSU institutes necessary reform and doesn’t allow football to become such a privileged part of the university once the sanctions are through.

  34. PD Shaw says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: If I understand correctly the NCAA waived some of the rules to make it easier to transfer out right now, but you would probably need to do it within a few weeks. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, a lot of pressure on the kids and certainly not as easy to transfer as in other sports, like baseball. But if you receive a call from a contender with a hole, or even a rebuilding team; if they want you and think you can jell with their program, it would be hard to stay in that atmosphere.

  35. @PD Shaw:

    The contender doesn’t even need a hole. The NCAA is allowing schools that take PSU transfers to exceed their scholarship limits, if they take the transfer out of the 2013 season’s alotment and they are back down to 85 total by the start of that season.

  36. @Andy:

    I’m mainly curious about the practical problem of the NCAA simply changing win history by fiat.

    It’s been done before. In fact, Bobby Bowden was ahead of Paterno at retirement but then dropped behind after 12 of his wins were vacated for violations in his program, so there’s it’s rather ironic that he got the Division 1-A wins title back the same way he lost it.

  37. mattb says:

    @john personna: You should know by now that @JKB always denies facts that he doesn’t agree with — see his odd views of American history and his specialized theory of “gut” economics.

  38. Nikki says:

    I’m mainly curious about the practical problem of the NCAA simply changing win history by fiat.

    Eddie Robinson of Grambling U. is now the winningest coach in college football history and Paterno is seventh and likely to go to eighth very soon. As someone who could give less than one damn about athletic statistics/records, I’m fine with this.

  39. Orwellian is right. The NCAA has attempted to change reality by changing team names. One wonders if the NCAA would change the name of its home city to NativeAmerican-apolis if it could.

  40. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Thanks, interesting history.

  41. @mattb:

    The reason I called him a “sick f*k” was that child rape wasn’t enough for him.

    It was just a springboard.

    (Same to idiot downvoters)

  42. (That they are wrong on the sprung-to topic is less important)

  43. EazieCheeze says:

    Consider this regarding the scholarship reduction: It is a four-year reduction based on class year, which really makes it an eight-year penalty. In 2016, Penn State will be down to 60 scholarship players versus the NCAA limit of 85, which it will not be able to reach until 2019 since teams are limited to adding 25 “counters” each year. This will prevent the team from being competitive for the next 8-10 years at least, and likely longer.

    There are a couple of other penalties that I hope were considered and wish had been enacted:

    — Not just a TV ban, but an “Italian soccer” style penalty of barring PSU from admitting fans to home games for a period of time.

    — A restriction on running youth camps and clinics and a ban on football coaches from holding any sort of outside instruction or private lessons for MANY years. This is an area the NCAA governs due to the potential for recruiting violations, but I would see no issue with this sort of ban.

    And for those demanding the death penalty, note that SMU was struck down not just for paying players in cash and cars, but for doing it, getting caught, then continuing to do it while on probation and covering it up to the highest levels of state government. And they’re just now digging out of that hole 20 years later.

  44. PD Shaw says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I understand the legal limitations on transfers have been lifted; my comment sort of drifted into the musings on how practical it would be to transfer this close the beginning of the football season in a sport that is far more coordinated than others.

  45. jlrice says:

    It wasn’t harsh enough. All this blow of whether the NCAA had juridisdiction is jock myopia and locker room lawyering at its worst. of course the NCAA had to hit them hard had every right to do so by there charter and agreements with every member. Paterno got the wins that put him at the top during that 15 yr. period of abuse–you don’t think his obsession to get that win record didn’t factor into his cover this up, and letting the rapes continue at Penn St., at bowl games, in the football facilities–are you kidding me? It’s nonsense that just these handful of people knew what was going on. Many more people knew, including members of Paterno’s family and the AG who is Gov. of the state. All the players, coaches, vendors and retailers prospered at least indirectly by paterno’s horrific cove-up. They only thing NCAA got wrong, there should be no football this fall. The idea they are still going to play those games is bizarre and just plain wrong.

  46. jlrice says:

    @PD Shaw: The QB at WI was allowed to transfer suddenly from nc st. last yr. about this time.

  47. jlrice says:

    Re: the fine, Penn St. set a fund raising record this past yr. that will more than cover that fine.

  48. jlrice says:

    @EazieCheeze: The crimes that occurred at Penn St. makes the SMU situation look like a petty offense.

  49. @jlrice:

    I agree Penn State deserves the death penalty, but again is it worth the damage to all the cities in the area? Hotel owners in Altoona had no control over the running of the Penn State football program. Should they be bankrupted and all of their employees put out of work in the middle of a bad recession just to suit vengeance?

  50. Davebo says:

    Rumors of unprecedented NCAA sanctions

    Unprecedented??? Tell it to SMU James or the University of Houston. If anything, they were minimal, but certainly not unprecedented.

  51. Scott says:

    My main concern is that these sanction hurt the student players. I wonder why the NCAA doesn’t take the fines and award scholarships/grants to players without obligation so they are not punished.

  52. James Joyner says:

    @Davebo: This is arguably more severe than the SMU ‘death penalty’ in terms of length and breadth of sanctions. Further, SMU was already under NCAA sanctions when it committed its violations; Penn State had heretofore had a clean slate with the ruling body.

  53. Eric says:

    @jlrice:
    Russell Wilson was only allowed to transfer and play immediately because he had already completed his degree. The new coach there wanted him to commit to only football, but he wanted to play minor league baseball as well. The coach said he wouldn’t be the guaranteed starter when he got back (he’d already been the starter for a couple years), so Wilson transferred to Wisconsin.

  54. Nikki says:

    Should they be bankrupted and all of their employees put out of work in the middle of a bad recession just to suit vengeance?

    Over the next 5 years, PSU will still have its regular football season to draw in the fans and alumni. Of course, the games probably won’t be as exciting to attend. But a commenter at Deadspin put it:

    Had the likes of Paterno come out in full force with this in 1998 or 1999, PSU would’ve served lesser penalties (if any at all), and would’ve long since rebuilt the football program. You should be angry at the folks that didn’t think about the impact of their decisions on others in the community.

  55. @Nikki:

    Over the next 5 years, PSU will still have its regular football season to draw in the fans and alumni.

    Yes, that was my point why the NCAA went with what it did rather than the “death penalty”. Leaving the regular season allows hundreds of businesses that depend on the football season a chance to survive. If football had been cancelled entirely for several years, all those businesses would be bankrupt by the ends and thousands of people would be out of jobs.

    So even though I think the University deserved the death penalty, it was wise to stay that for the sake of Central PA.

  56. Another irony in the NCAA sanctions: as a result of the wins that were vacated, the last Penn State quarterback to have had a winning season at Penn State is, of all people, Mike McQueary, who had a 9-3 season in 1997.

  57. PD Shaw says:

    I think you can find no small amount of Penn State fans on the fan websites who would agree with James’ assessment that they might have gotten worse than the death penalty; they fear that the program has been rendered into a walking zombie that will lumber-on under the name of the Nittany Lions, discrediting the program for the next ten years. I think if you put it to a vote, they’d prefer a one or two year death penalty, and the opportunity to have the excitement of starting over.

  58. @PD Shaw:

    The problem is that those fans basically want to sweep all this under the rug and go back to the way things were before and act like nothing has happened. Part of why this sort of punishment is needed is that the denialist faction of the alumni association needs to have it’s spirit broken before true change can begin.

  59. PD Shaw says:

    I don’t disagree with Stormy Dragon’s point that there are a lot of third-parties (local businesses, the BigTen schedule) that are better off without the death penalty, but the people who care solely about the football program might have preferred it.

  60. PD Shaw says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Unfortunately, or in my view fortunately, I didn’t read the latest report implicating Paterno and others, so I don’t have a strong sense of what should be the individual versus collective responsibilities in this case. On the one hand the fans feel like they are being treated like pedophile enablers for criminal actions they were unaware of, and on the other hand some of these fans are saying irresponsible things that point to the problems of college athletics.

    If it were up to me, I would tear down this whole hypocritical artifice of college athletics.

  61. @PD Shaw:

    I don’t think the alumni were responsible for it, but in light of what’s come out, they have a choice between two options.

    1. Recognize that the whole “Success with Honor” facade of the Paterno era was a fraud. They could resolve that even if Paterno didn’t mean it, they did. They could leave him behind but recommit to what he supposedly stood for. This would be a great thing for the university and could bring true reform.

    2. The can circle the wagons, claim that Paterno is still a great man who’s been unfairly slandered. Try to sweep everything under the rug as soon as posisble and get back to the status quo. And if anyone tries to reform anything, cast them out as a traitor. This will prevent anything from really changing, and is mostly about defending their wounded pride.

    Sadly, too much of the alumni seem to have chosen option #2.

  62. @Stormy Dragon:

    If I may offer an example of the attitude I wish there was more of, Penn State CB Mike Wallace responded to the NCAA sanctions on Twitter: “The beauty in tragedy is if we react positively, it grants us the unique opportunity to grow and come together stronger than ever #WeAre”

    That’s the right way to look at this for the current players and alumni. The next 10 years are going to be hard, but the blame for this like on the shoulders of Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz, not on the NCAA. And it’s during tough times that we find out what we’re truly made of. So instead of throwing a tantrum, we should be looking on this as a chance to get better.

  63. John Cole says:

    Indeed, it’s not even clear that the NCAA has jurisdiction here.

    They do, because Penn State gave them that jurisdiction when they didn’t even attempt to negotiate and simply agreed to everything.

  64. PD Shaw says:

    As an Illinois fan, Paterno’s last win will always be a metaphor for a program with entitlement issues and ineffective controls. Penn State fans were beaming icy snowballs at the Illini players and the officials throughout the game, when they weren’t booing their quarterback, and the officials and stadium security didn’t do anything about it, except to announce that throwing snowballs would result in a penalty. By the way, snow was not just being thrown by the student section, but the alumni as well.

    And sure enough the game came down to a field goal attempt by the Illini to tie with about a minute remaining and again the Illini and the uprights were sprayed with snow balls. Consistent with the officiating throughout the game there was no penalty when the ball hit the uprights. Obviously, officials don’t want to make the call that decides the game late; they screwed-up by not doing anything at the beginning of the game. Parenting 101 = don’t make threats you don’t intend to carry through on.

  65. Christopher says:

    @SJ Reidhead: I am not a football fan. I do think that NCAA should work with Penn State and other universities/colleges to develop guidelines to keep this from happening again. It seems that NCAA has hollared “fire” and ran out the door. One idea I have would be to work with local churches and get them more involved in university and college life, including rules and conduct. It just seems to me that there is too much drinking and other forms of improper behavior at many colleges and universities. Many of the church connected colleges are not having these problems in their athletic departments or schools. Campus Crusade used to be involved a lot at universities; I don’t know about now. These students, staff, coaches and others need some sort of belief system to guide behavior. The church could provide this.

  66. @Christopher:

    Many of the church connected colleges are not having these problems

    BWAHAHAHA.

  67. Nikki says:

    @Christopher: Do unto others as you would have the do unto you. The only belief system anyone needs.

  68. anjin-san says:

    I think putting the hammer down is the right thing to do. Sucks for those who did noting wrong and are left with the consequences, but there should be consequences.

  69. superdestroyer says:

    I predicted that after Joe Paterno lost power that there would be a large number of people that would come out for vengence. Now that Penn State has lost some power, people are free to remind everyone what jerks they have always been,

    The best thing about the length of the sanctions is that many of the Wal-Mart Alumni will move on to something else since the hangers-on will not be able to brag about all of the wins over Ohio University and Temple.

  70. grumpy realist says:

    @Christopher: or maybe it just hasn’t come out yet….may I remind you of a little institution called the Catholic Church?

  71. grumpy realist says:

    @PD Shaw: well, the fans WERE pedophile enablers. How many people thought that there was something “a little funny” about Sandusky but preferred to turn the other way because “if I say anything, it will hurt the football program!”

    That’s enabling. “Known, or should have known” is a typical doctrine in law. You don’t get to say “but I saw NOTHING!!!” when a reasonable person would have checked–and discovered–the problem.

  72. Barry says:

    @Jim Tantillo: “It’s a public university. It hurts the taxpayers of Pennsylvania primarily. ”

    PSU will be hit by a large number of lawsuits, and the evidence is there to ensure that many will be successful.

    And we haven’t even seen the other shoe drop – how many rapes of adult women did PSU cover up over the past few decades? A group willing to cover up and enable the rape of children would have had zero trouble covering up and enabling the rapes of women.

  73. RHOmea says:

    @PD Shaw: That is shoddy reporting that has spread.
    PSU makes a profit of over 50 Million PER YEAR on their FB program. check out Kristi Dosh’s exact audit based on public PSU budgets. http://bit.ly/Ns9r7D

  74. RHOmea says:

    @sam: a) that is absolutely false – read the penalty – all funds for fines MUST come from the Fb program which is highly profitable. Likewise, if you are a PA taxpayer than you should be pissed off at the people who did this to YOUR state university, whose malfeasance and criminal behavior put PSU in the position in the first place – not those seeking to punish and reform it.

  75. RHOmea says:

    Dear Mr Joyner,

    beware of blindly quoting others!

    Errata:
    – PSU earned over 50 million a year in profits last year, not “revenues”

    – Jay Bilas is quite incorrect. PSU clearly violates the letter and spirit of NCAA rule 10.1

    NCAA Rule 10.1 UNETHICAL CONDUCT

    Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member (e.g., coach,
    professor, tutor, teaching assistant, student manager, student trainer) may include, but is not limited to, the following:

    Therefore, any conduct considered unethical by the NCAA is subject to sanctions as deemed fit by the NCAA. it doesn’t take a lawyer to understand that aiding and abetting a child-rapist fits the above criteria.

  76. James Joyner says:

    @RHOmea: The most recent figures (December 2011) I’ve seen has Penn State bringing in $70.2 million, having expenses of $19.8 million, with a net profit of $50.4 million. Of course, that money doesn’t all stay with the football team; football and basketball fund the whole athletic program.

    As to Rule 10.1, it’s pretty clearly designed to punish conduct relative to recruitment and compliance, not criminal law.

  77. RHOmea says:

    @James Joyner:
    a) you need to read Ms Dosh more closely sir. After paying for ALL other sports activities PSU profited $43,060,566.00 and

    The $43 million surplus left from football and men’s basketball after covering the other sports also covers coaches salaries ($9.4m), student aid ($11.1m), recruiting ($967k) and gameday expenses ($7.5m). At the end of the day, Penn State shows a $26.4 million profit without the aid of any student fees, direct institutional support or state support.

    so they still have plenty to pay the 12M a year for five years penalty n’est pas? (http://bit.ly/Ns9r7D)
    b) in re: 10.1 – “it’s pretty clear” is political rhetoric, not legal analysis.
    The NCAA has some of the best lawyers money can buy and every comma, clause and word of 10.1 was painstakingly written to leave them a very wide berth for enforcing whatever they need to in the realm of UNETHICAL CONDUCT. If the lawyers who wrote that section meant to restrict it to the offenses listed in Bylaw 10.1 (http://bit.ly/PF1bjP) they would not have used the common disclaimer of “including but not limited to” which waives ANY said restriction. They also chose exempli gratia instead of id est which say that these are only examples, not THE ONLY examples of said infractions.
    So what may seem clear to you is quite clearly not the case – they can go into a court and 99/100 times use that Bylaw to point at anything they want and succeed.