Penn State University removed the Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium yesterday, and this morning the NCAA removed Paterno from the top of the all time coaching wins list as they hammered the University with sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal.
The NCAA basically gave the football program a death penalty without giving it the full death penalty. Penn State was fined $60 million, which will be used as an endowment to help victims of sexual abuse. The school is also banned from postseason play for four years, will lose ten scholarships this year, and 20 for each of the next three years after that. The school must also vacate all wins from 1998 to 2011, meaning Paterno drops from number one on the all time coaching wins list to 12th, with 298 in his now severely tarnished career.
On Sunday, the school removed the statue of Paterno, which many had been calling for after The Freeh Report revealed that Paterno had been involved in covering up the crimes of his former assistant against children for more than a decade.
It was easily a total lack of institutional control, so the penalties are harsh, but necessary. It’s unfortunate that athletes who had nothing to do with any of the horrible things that went on are the ones who pay the price, but that’s how the NCAA rolls. Players are allowed to transfer and play in the upcoming season, but camps start in less than two weeks, so it’s not like there’s exactly a lot of roster spots open.
The university will also be facing plenty of civil suits if they don’t settle with the victims of Sandusky, so the financial penalties are far from over. Sandusky is looking at more than 400 years in prison when he gets sentenced, but it’s hard to imagine that any of this really makes his victims feel all that much better.