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Penn State NCAA sanctions: Fined $60M, banned from bowls, wins from 1998 on vacated

Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno is surrounded by the media while leaving the team's football building on Nov. 8, 2011.
Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno is surrounded by the media while leaving the team's football building on Nov. 8, 2011.
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Saying that the punishment is "warranted by the conspiracy of silence" among Penn State University's top leadership that turned a blind eye to former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys, the NCAA just announced sanctions on the school that include:

• A $60 million fine. The money will go into an endowment fund to support programs around the nation that assist victims of sexual abuse, NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

• A ban on participation in post-season football bowl games for four years.

• A reduction in the number of football scholarships from 25 to 15 for four years.

• The vacating of all the football team's wins for the years 1998-2011. It was in 1998 that university officials first heard that Sandusky might be sexually abusing young boys.

The school, Emmert said, had allowed its athletic culture to go "horribly awry." And without naming former head coach Joe Paterno, Emmert said the school had allowed one person to become too powerful.

Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep and NPR's Tom Goldman talked about Penn State and the sanctions earlier today.

Update at 10:40 a.m. ET. Penn State Officials React.

University President Rodney Erickson: "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims of Mr. Sandusky and all other victims of child abuse. ... Against this backdrop, Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA. With today's announcement and the action it requires of us, the university takes a significant step forward."

Football coach Bill O'Brien (who was hired after last season): " I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the university forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence."

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET. More Crippling Than A "Death Penalty?"

Though the university did not get the NCAA's so-called death penalty, which would have banned the football team from competing for at least one season, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the punishments are likely to have an even "more crippling effect" because of their length and severity. Barring Penn State from postseason play for four years, for example, may make it difficult to recruit top players. And current players will be allowed to transfer to other schools without having to wait to compete again.

Update at 10 a.m. ET. Big 10 To Announce Its Penalties.

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

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET. Paterno Is No Longer Division I Record Holder:

As USA Today points out, just before his firing last November, Paterno had set the record for most wins as a Division I football coach — with 409. Wiping away the wins from 1998-2011 removes 112 victories from his record, the newspaper says. So, "the loss of victories means Joe Paterno is no longer college football's winningest coach."

ESPN adds that:

"With the wins from 1998-2011 vacated, Paterno drops 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."

Update at 9:25 a.m ET. Penn State Will Not Challenge Penalties, Emmert Says:

Asked if he expects the school will file an appeal, Emmert just told reporters that Penn State has signed an agreement accepting the punishments.

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