Penn State fined $60m over Jerry Sandusky sex abuse

image captionThe Penn State football team, The Nittany Lions, have an ardent following

US college sport authorities have fined Penn State University $60m (£39m) in the wake of child sex abuse perpetrated by a long-serving football coach.

The university - a famous US football school - will be banned from competing for honours for four years, and lose all wins from 1998-2011.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said the punishments were "corrective and punitive".

Assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of sex abuse.

He abused 10 boys over a period of 15 years, a court found, preying on boys he met through a charity, Second Mile, that he founded himself.

'Avalanche of vitriol'

Sandusky could spend the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. "The sanctions needed to reflect our goals of providing cultural change."

The NCAA said the fines were equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the Penn State football programme.

The money is to be given to an endowment fund for external programmes to prevent child abuse and help victims.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in a statement: "Against this backdrop, Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA.

"With today's announcement and the action it requires of us, the university takes a significant step forward."

Other NCAA sanctions against Penn State include:

  • A ban on participating in post-season games - or playoffs - for four years, including the 2012-13 season
  • Number of football scholarships limited for the next four years, a reduction of 10 places per year
  • Football wins revoked between 1998-2011
  • A five-year probation on all sports at Penn State
  • Adoption of all recommendations for reform in Section 10 of an FBI investigation into abuse at Penn State
  • Appointment of an NCAA-selected Athletics Integrity Monitor for five years
  • Further penalties against individuals could come after criminal proceedings end.
media captionNCAA President Mark Emmert says Penn State child sex scandal is "tragically unnecessary"

Correspondents say the sanctions are unprecedented in their severity, although the NCAA did not impose the "death penalty" and close the entire football programme.

The fallout from the scandal has sullied the reputation of Penn State's former head football coach Joe Paterno.

Paterno, who died earlier this year, months before the resolution of the case, won more college football games in his long career at Penn State than any other head coach in university sport.

His family called the sanctions an "avalanche of vitriol, condemnation and posthumous punishment on Joe Paterno".

"Punishing past, present and future students of the university because of Sandusky's crimes does not serve justice," a family statement said.

"This is not a fair or thoughtful action; it is a panicked response to the public's understandable revulsion at what Sandusky did."

Paterno was heavily criticised in a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, issued after the guilty verdict, which said the highest-ranking officials at Penn State had failed utterly to shield victims from Sandusky.

Many of Paterno's wins will now be expunged from the record books.

On Sunday a statue of him was removed from outside the university, after it was deemed to have become a "lightning rod of controversy".

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