Penn State fined $60 million for Sandusky’s crimes
The football program at Penn State University will pay $60 million to child abuse-prevention programs as part of a series of penalties for the sexual assaults committed by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, the NCAA announced Monday.
As SI.com reports, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Monday morning that the program had agreed to serve a four-year ban on post-season play, forfeit 111 wins between 1998 and 2011, play with a reduced number of athletic scholarships for four years and offer transfers to any current or incoming player who wishes to leave for another school.
“Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,” Emmert said.
The Big Ten Conference also penalized the school by barring it from taking part in conference revenue-sharing from post-season play for the next four years, which will cost Penn State $13 million. Penn State is also prohibited from playing for the conference championship in football.
Last month, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child abuse over a 15-year period. A subsequent report by former FBI director Louis Freeh commissioned by the school uncovered an effort by university officials, including head coach Joe Paterno, to hide Sandusky’s crimes.
The case also led to Paterno’s resignation after an almost 50-year tenure as head coach. Paterno, once revered in the Penn State community, died in January. Sunday a statue in his honor was taken down from campus.
The school’s athletic department will also serve a five-year probation, which includes working with an athletic-integrity monitor program chosen by the NCAA.
The money will be paid over a five-year period, and the NCAA stipulated that it can not be taken from non-revenue sports. Emmert said it would go to “support programs around the nation that serve the victims of child sexual abuse and seek to prevent such abuse from happening.”
In a statement released Monday, new football coach Bill O’Brien said the program would comply and “help guide the university forward” after the sanctions, but at least one advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse said the penalties weren’t harsh enough.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, which represents victims of the Catholic priest abuse scandal, released a statement arguing that the sanctions against Penn State were lenient compared to the “death penalty” Southern Methodist University received in 1987, when the program was stopped entirely for one year after revelations that players had been paid under the table.
“When money was misspent at SMU, play is suspended,” the group said. “But when boys are raped and crimes are concealed at PSU, play continues. This sends absolutely the wrong signal. Bans from bowl games have been issued in the past because players traded championship rings for tattoos. This is not a punishment that is equal to the horrific crimes that happened at Penn State.”