Did the NCAA Do Enough to Punish the Penn State Football Program?

The NCAA has imposed a series of sanctions on the Penn State, but declined to ban the football program altogether.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association, known as the NCAA, is fining Penn State $60 million and banning the college football program from bowl games and postseason play for four years as punishment for the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the university. NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the sanctions, which also include a reduction in football scholarships and vacating all football game wins from 1998-2011, Monday morning.

The NCAA  said it has the "authority and responsibility to act" for the sexual abuse victims, and that,  "No matter what we do here today, there is no action we can take that will remove their pain and anguish."

The NCAA is imposing the sanctions in an effort to affect a "cultural change" in the university's football program, following a series of leadership failures that allowed the sexual abuse to continue. Emmert said the NCAA had decided against "the death penalty"—suspending Penn State's football program altogether—because sanctions were the best way to change the university's athletic culture, and eliminating the football program would negatively impact many who had nothing to do with the case.

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Last month, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of sexual abusing 10 boys over 15 years, and is currently awaiting sentencing. Other school officials, including former head coach Joe Paterno, are accused of having knowledge of and purposefully concealing information about the abuse which was first reported against Sandusky in 1998. A July 12 report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh said that Penn State leadership "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from authorities, the university's board of trustees, the Penn State community and the public at large."

The school has decided to remove a campus statue of Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football history, because they said it would impede the healing process after the scandal. Paterno died six months ago from lung cancer.

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