This morning at 9 am Eastern, the NCAA will announce what have been billed as significant and "unprecedented" sanctions against both the Penn State football program and the university as a whole for school officials' role in covering up Jerry Sandusky's rampage of child abuse over a 14-year period. This will be a live blog of the proceedings.
According to multiple reports, Penn State is going to get a multi-year bowl ban and lose massive numbers of scholarships, as well as other penalties. While Penn State is not expected to get a death penalty, the cumulative effect of the sanctions is expected to be so cripplingly harsh that Penn State fans will end up wishing they got a death penalty. We already know what one of the specific sanctions will be--according to CBS Sports, Penn State will be fined between $30-60 million, to be donated to a children's charity. That will be a pretty significant fine, since Penn State's athletic program brings in $116 million a year.
Of note, these penalties are being imposed by NCAA president Mark Emmert himself, under special powers granted by the NCAA executive committee. Clearly, Emmert must have found something so egregious that it couldn't wait for the federal criminal probe and the Department of Justice's investigation into Clery Act violations to play out.
6:05 AM PT: Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA executive committee, takes the podium. He describes Penn State's actions as "reckless" and displaying "callous disregard" for the "innocent children" harmed by Sandusky.
6:06 AM PT: Ray: The NCAA must act because it has a duty to speak out on behavior that goes "against our values."
6:07 AM PT: Ray: Penn State's actions flagrantly violated the NCAA Constitution, as well as basic standards of decency and fairness. Turns it over to NCAA president Emmert.
6:08 AM PT: Emmert: No action taken today can remove the anguish suffered by the children. Penn State must establish a culture where football does not come before educating young people.
6:09 AM PT: Emmert: NCAA constitution not only mandates fair play, but provide positive role models. Penn State's actions violated those standards.
6:10 AM PT: Penn State fined $60 million, with funds used to prevent child abuse. This is the equivalent of one year's revenue for the football team.
6:11 AM PT: Four-year bowl ban, scholarships reduced from 25 to 15 over four years. Full release granted to all players.
6:11 AM PT: All wins from 1998 to 2011 vacated, five years' probation.
6:12 AM PT: NCAA reserves right to initiate a formal investigation in the future once criminal case plays out.
6:12 AM PT: Penn State must adopt the recommendations in the Freeh report, as well as enter an academic integrity program.
6:12 AM PT: Penn State will have to accept an NCAA-appointed academic integrity monitor for the next five years.
6:14 AM PT: NCAA considered handing down a death penalty, given the egregiousness of what happened. However, shutting down the football program would not impose the needed cultural change over time.
6:15 AM PT: Penn State case is the result of a culture of hero worship gone horribly wrong.
6:18 AM PT: Response to question from Pat Forde of Yahoo: Penn State has already agreed to the sanctions. This is basically a consent decree.
6:20 AM PT: Ray: Actions have unanimous support of NCAA presidents.
6:21 AM PT: Emmert: This is a classic case of what happens when athletics overwhelms the core values of an institution.
6:23 AM PT: Response to question from AP: Academic integrity agreement is similar to a corporate integrity agreement. If Penn State slips up, NCAA reserves right to reopen this case. Translation: If Penn State slips out of line, the death penalty is still on the table.
6:25 AM PT: Ray: This is intended to be a gut check to every university--are athletics in their proper place?
6:27 AM PT: Emmert: This was an emergency action to correct an egregiously unacceptable situation.
6:30 AM PT: Ray: If university's culture had been as open then as it is now under new president Rodney Erickson, we wouldn't be having this press conference today.
7:17 AM PT: If I read Sally Mason, the president of Iowa and the chairwoman of the Big 10 presidents' council, right, the Big 10 was waiting for the NCAA announcement with a raised hobnail boot. And with that, I'm off to bed.