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NCAA levies penalties against Penn State

The NCAA has announced sanctions against Penn State's storied football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

A four-year postseason ban, five years probation and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998 were among the significant penalties revealed by NCAA president Mark Emmert during a Monday morning press conference at the organization's headquarters in Indianapolis.

Penn State also must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period and was hit with a $60 million fine.

The NCAA ordered that the fine go toward an endowment for "external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at the university."

The $60 million is equivalent to the average annual revenue of the football program.

In addition, players may transfer and play immediately at other schools.

"Today Penn State takes another step forward in changing the culture at the institution as we accept the penalties of the NCAA for the failure of leadership that occurred on our campus," Penn State acting athletic director David Joyner said in a statement. "We are deeply disappointed that some of our leaders could have turned a blind eye to such abuse, and agree that the culture at Penn State must change."

The Big Ten also announced that because of the postseason ban, Penn State will be ineligible to receive its share of the conference bowl revenues over the same four years.

The university was punished for its collective failure to report Sandusky, a former assistant under head coach Joe Paterno, recently convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse against 10 boys over a 15-year period, to the proper authorities.

The NCAA took an unprecedented measure with the decision to penalize Penn State without conducting its own investigation, a typically lengthy process.

The organization relied heavily on the Freeh Report, the findings of an investigation commissioned by Penn State's board of trustees and conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh, saying in the release that "traditional investigative proceedings would be redundant and unnecessary."

Many wondered in the NCAA had the authority to impose such penalties related to Penn State. Ed Ray, NCAA executive committee chair and Oregon State president, addressed that topic, saying in a statement, "This egregious behavior not only goes against our rules and Constitution, but also against our values."

The Freeh Report accused many Penn State senior officials, including Paterno, school president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley, of concealing "critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the board of trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large."

"As we evaluated the situation, the victims affected by Jerry Sandusky and the efforts by many to conceal his crimes informed our actions," Emmert said in a statement. "At our core, we are educators. Penn State leadership lost sight of that."

The NCAA's announcement came a day after Penn State removed the statue of Paterno from the front of Beaver Stadium. The release said Paterno's career record will reflect the vacated records, meaning he is no longer the winningest coach in major college football history.

"The 1998 date was selected because that's when the first reported incidents of abuse occurred and that's when the failure to respond appropriately began," Emmert said.

Paterno was fired as Penn State's head coach last November, just days after Sandusky's arrest, and died of lung cancer in January.

New Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien said he's committed to the school despite the crippling sanctions imposed by the NCAA.

"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," O'Brien said in a statement released by the school.