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Penn State Avoided Death Penalty By Agreeing To Massive Penalty

Penn State football wasn't hit with a one-year blackball, commonly referred to by the public as a death penalty, by the NCAA on Monday. But the actual list of punishments might be more damaging for the program in the long run, and now it comes out that the NCAA never really ruled out the death penalty anyway.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson acknowledged PSU agreed to the severe sanctions in order to keep the NCAA from shuttering football entirely for a season or more:

In an interview with the Centre Daily Times, Erickson said, "We had our backs to the wall on this. We did what we thought was necessary to save the program."

Joined by board of trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz and interim director of athletics David Joyner, Erickson said he signed the NCAA agreement because no better deal was available.

The punishments awaiting Penn State include heavy scholarship losses, free transfers for current players, a four-year postseason ban and a $60 million fine.

For more on Nittany Lions football, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire, SB Nation Pittsburgh and SB Nation Philly.