The NCAA didn't have to get involved in the Jerry Sandusky coverup tragedy, but it chose to do so anyway. At a 9 a.m. ET press conference, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced his punishments against Penn State -- his punishments, because he used the NCAA's constitution to subvert the NCAA's standard governing process in order to punish Penn State with greater haste.
There's no death penalty, meaning the Nittany Lions will still get to play football this year and onward. But, as reported, the rest of the penalties are so dire that a year off the gridiron might actually be less damaging for PSU's coaches, players, staff, and fans.
Here's the rundown:
- Four-year postseason ban
- $60 million fine, to go to an endowment for children's charities
- 10 incoming scholarships lost first year, 20 scholarship deduction for four years (more or less an entire roster worth of scholarships)
- Vacation of all wins from 1998 through 2011 (meaning Joe Paterno now ranks seventh among all D1 coaches in wins)
- Five years probation
- Penn State players can transfer immediately without penalty
Before the list of sanctions, NCAA executive committee chair Edward Ray called Penn State's coverup "reckless" and defended the NCAA's involvement in the scandal.
"Not only does the NCAA have the authority, we have the responsibility," Ray said.
Penn State isn't out of the woods yet -- not even its football program has its full list of damage at hand. The Big Ten can still choose to punish Penn State in just about any way conceivable, from witholding conference revenue to forbidding trips to the Big Ten Championship Game and so on. Indeed, the Big Ten will announce something one way or the other Monday as well.
The school could choose also to limit its own football program in addition to what's being imposed.
And this is all outside of what's going to be levied against the university itself by the Department of Education and perhaps other government agencies, which could make the worst the NCAA can do look like nothing by comparison.