GREENSBORO, N.C.–Penn State has been the center of the sports world for all of the wrong reasons in recent months. Tuesday morning, the NCAA threw down the proverbial hammer and completed the final chapter of a truly despicable saga.
Jerry Sandusky was proven guilty of 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys nearly a month ago, but until July 22, 2012 no true punishment had been given to Penn State. The NCAA assigned severe penalties to the school, including a $60 million fine, a four-year postseason ban, and a loss of 10 scholarships per year for the next four seasons.
At the ACC Kickoff on Monday, coaches had the chance to react.
“The NCAA talked about their new enforcement rules and they gave examples of what punishment in the past and what punishment for a similar offense would be in the future and it was a pretty drastic and dramatic increase in penalties,” NC State head coach Tom O’Brien said. “I think this is the first shot out of the box…They just became a [Division] 1-AA school. They went down to 65 scholarships, that’s what a 1-AA school is.”
The video below, courtesy of Duke Student Broadcasting, has some highlights from yesterday’s event in Greensboro:
The Nittany Lions were also forced to vacate every victory from 1998 to 2011, a grand total of 112 victories. Of that total, only one was won without Joe Paterno at the helm. With 111 wins now scratched from the record books, Paterno will drop to 12th on the all-time wins list with 298.
“When Joe said he’d wish he’d done more, I’ll take him at his word,” Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “You have to take care of the youth in this country. What happened today is a gigantic statement by the NCAA.”
Paterno’s legacy has been tarnished over the past few months, but the unprecedented punishments received by Penn State could very well hurt them over the next decade. Duke football head coach David Cutcliffe feels that the bowl ban alone will be tough on both current and future players alike.
“Bowl bans are tough because kids, especially kids that are used to that. That’s taking a tough thing away,” Cutcliffe said. “That little bit of travel money, meal money, things that come in handy at Christmas. It’s the one time the NCAA allows us to give our players a few extra gifts–the bowls give out gifts. That’s a tough pill to swallow for an athlete.”
No one quite knows where Penn State will go from here; what we can only hope is that a crime of this magnitude never happens again in college sports and that the focus can return to the athletes on the field.