INDIANAPOLIS — New Penn State coach Bill O’Brien says he’s committed to the school despite the harsh sanctions imposed Monday by the NCAA, including a four-year postseason ban and a big loss in scholarships.
In a statement released by the school, O’Brien said, “I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.”
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School President Rodney Erickson says Penn State accepts the penalties. He says the NCAA sanctions will help the school “define our course.”
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
The NCAA slammed Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal Monday with an unprecedented series of penalties, including a $60 million fine and the loss of all the school’s victories from 1998-2011, knocking Joe Paterno from his spot as major college football’s winningest coach.
Other sanctions include a four-year ban on postseason games that will prevent Penn State from playing for the Big Ten title, the loss of 20 scholarships per year over four years and five years’ probation. The NCAA also said that any current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.
NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the staggering sanctions at a news conference in Indianapolis. Though the NCAA stopped short of imposing the “death penalty” – shutting down the Nittany Lions’ program completely. But the punishment is so severe, it’s more like a slow-death penalty.
Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was found guilty in June of sexually abusing young boys, sometimes on campus. An investigation commissioned by the school and released July 12 found that Paterno, who died in January, and several other top officials at Penn State stayed quiet for years about accusations against Sandusky.
Emmert fast-tracked penalties rather than go through the usual circuitous series of investigations and hearings. The NCAA said the $60 million is equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the football program. The money must be paid into an endowment for external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at Penn State.
“Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,” Emmert said.