Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

The NCAA levies unprecedented penalties on Penn State, but stops short of the ‘death penalty’

by Patt Morrison

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NCAA president Mark Emmert (R) speaks as Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA's executive committee and Oregon State president looks on, during a press conference at the NCAA's headquarters to announce sanctions against Penn State University's football program in Indianapolis, Indiana. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Penn State football program has been slammed with unprecedented sanctions in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. The NCAA today announced a set of severe sanctions, which includes fines of $60 million, a four year postseason ban, four years’ worth of scholarship caps and five years of probation.

The ruling also vacates 112 Penn State victories, 111 of which were victories by their once lauded coach, Joe Paterno. Before today’s announcement, Paterno was the winningest coach in college football, but his name now stands sullied by the findings of an investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh that discovered that he and other Penn State officials knowingly covered up details of Sandusky’s ongoing sexual abuse of young boys to protect the Penn State football program.

The NCAA opted to not implement the ‘death penalty,’ which would have suspended the school’s entire football program, saying that they didn’t want to punish those who were not involved in the scandal. College football is a colossal revenue generator for schools and their local economies and today’s penalties will decimate Penn State’s football program for a decade or more.


What kinds of penalties are appropriate for Penn State? How can their football program rebound from such significant sanctions?


Chris Dufresne, sports writer for the L.A. Times

Jonathan Mahler, writer for the New York Times magazine

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