Last month, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts related to sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. He has yet to be sentenced, though the charges carry a minimum 60-year sentence and 442 years at maximum.
Emmert said the Freeh report, which was commissioned by Penn State, “was vastly more involved and thorough than any investigation we’ve ever conducted.”
Typically, the NCAA goes through a process that can span more than a year when it has reason to believe violations of its rules have been committed. That process includes an NCAA investigation, the issuance of a notice of allegations, time for the accused school to respond, a Committee on Infractions hearing and time for the committee to draw its findings. None of that took place in the case of Penn State, and the school is not believed to have committed any violations of NCAA regulations.
Using immoral or criminal behavior as a means to justify sanctions constitutes new territory for the NCAA.
“It’s important to separate this from a traditional enforcement case. That’s not what this was,” Emmert said. “This was an action by the [NCAA] Executive Committee, exercising their authority and working with me to correct what was seen as a horrifically egregious situation in collegiate athletics.”
Penn State has signed a consent decree and will not appeal the sanctions. In an interview with the Centre Daily Times, Penn State President Rodney Erickson said it agreed to the sanctions in order to avoid an NCAA death penalty.
In regards to the $60 million fine — the equivalent of one year of gross revenue for the Penn State football program — the NCAA gave the school five years to complete the payment and stipulated that the money cannot come from other Penn State sports programs or from academics. The NCAA plans to put the money into an endowment that will aid victims of child sexual abuse.
Erickson said in a written statement that the money to pay the fine would not come from tax money, tuition dollars or donations.
“Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA,” Erickson said in the statement. “With today’s announcement and the action it requires of us, the University takes a significant step forward.”
In a written statement, Penn State football Coach Bill O’Brien, Paterno’s replacement, described the punishment as “a very harsh penalty” but said he remained committed to the team.
“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,” said O’Brien, who met with his players Monday, according to reports. “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.”