Penn State Punishment Dwarfs USC Football NCAA Sanctions

PASADENA, CA - FILE: Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans celebrates following the game against the UCLA Bruins on December 4, 2004 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It was reported that the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) announced that it has stripped the University of Southern California of its football national championship in 2004, a repercussion tied to the ineligibility of former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush June 6, 2011. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

For the first time in forever, it looks like the NCAA has come up with the proper punishment (if such a thing is even possible) for a college football program for lack of institutional control. While the NCAA continued dancing its cosmic funk of inconsistency and uncertainty. Penn State has been punished harshly for what happened, consenting to some unprecedented transgressions for their crimes.

  • Four-year postseason ban
  • $60 million fine, to go to an endowment for children's charities
  • 10 incoming scholarships lost first year, 20 scholarship deduction for four years (more or less an entire roster worth of scholarships)
  • Vacation of all wins from 1998 through 2011 (meaning Joe Paterno now ranks seventh among all D1 coaches in wins)
  • Five years probation
  • Penn State players can transfer immediately without penalty

Additionally, from the Big Ten,

  • Loss of about $13 million in Big Ten bowl money, also to children's charities.
  • Four-year bowl ban and Big Ten Championship Game ban
  • How do the list of punishments for the Nittany Lions from the NCAA stack up to the USC punishments regarding the Reggie Bush case? While the Penn State punishments look harsh (even compared to the SMU death penalty), it still is surprising that their pain will be even comparable at all.

    • Two year postseason ban for the Trojans, compared to four years for the Nittany Lions.
    • 30 scholarships lost for the Trojans over three years compared to 40 scholarships lost for Penn State.
    • A national championship vacated for USC, as well as Pac-10 championships from 2004 and 2005. Penn State has lost all their victories from 1998 to 2011, and their Big Ten championships from 2005 and 2008).
    • Four years of probation for USC combined to five years of probation for Penn State.
    • In both situations, players under probation periods could transfer immediately. It might be harder to expect Penn State players to stick around compared to USC players, and you have to imagine the recruiting restrictions are going to hurt.

    It's still extremely bizarre that we have to even compare either of these situations. It's bizarre that the latter is considered the second most egregious punishment of a major college football power. While the fault was in the cover-up for USC, should the punishment have been that drastic for the Trojans in retrospect? Should the NCAA even be getting involved in punishing current student-athletes and just focus their attention on the vacating of wins?

    Who knows. One thing that will never seem to end is the NCAA back-patting, and that requires some gag reflexing. At least the money is going to the right places.

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