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Joe Paterno Wins Vacated: NCAA Sanction Means Ex-Penn State Coach No Longer Tops Wins List

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The NCAA has slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties, including a $60 million fine and the loss of all coach Joe Paterno's victories from 1998-2011, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The NCAA has slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties, including a $60 million fine and the loss of all coach Joe Paterno's victories from 1998-2011, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

The NCAA has spoken, loudly. NCAA President Mark Emmert announced major sanctions against Penn State on Monday morning, including a 4-year postseason ban, a $60 million fine and scholarship reduction. Emmert also announced that Penn State would vacate all wins between 1998 and 2011.

The loss of 112 wins during that stretch drops longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno from atop the all-time wins list in college football. Accounting for the lone win attributed to interim coach Tom Bradley last season, Paterno lost 111 wins from his previous total of 409. Paterno, who passed away in January, has 298 wins on his resume, which drops him to 12th all time in NCAA history and fifth all time in Division-I.

Emmert explained during his lengthy press conference that he and the executive committee decided to start with 1998 because that's when the first reported abuse allegations against convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky occurred.

"Obviously 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," he said. "And that was the point of time from which one could make an argument of course that the failures began inside the institution so it seemed to both me and the executive committee that that was the appropriate beginning date."

The NCAA's announcement to vacate these Penn State wins is another damaging blow to the late football coach's legacy, coming one day after PSU President Rodney Erickson ordered the bronze Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium removed.

Erickson said he decided to take it down because it "has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing" and would be "a recurring wound" to Sandusky's abuse victims.

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