Penn State Was to Receive Four-Year 'Death Penalty'
You read that right. Four years of nothingness.
And of course he was inclined to pick the first option rather than the latter, although both are pretty unfavorable.
"Well, that's a pretty tough number to swallow," Erickson said about the potential four-year possibility of no football. "It's unprecedented. It's a blow to the gut; there's no doubt about that ... I couldn't agree to that at all."
Penn State was slammed Monday with a $60 million fine, a four-year postseason ban, significantly reduced football scholarships and the forfeiture of 112 Joe Paterno-led wins.
Many would agree that this punishment was more difficult to take on than a one- or two-year "death penalty," as the program will likely sit at the bottom of the win column for several years to come (not to mention huge repercussions financially).
But four years? That would have killed the program.
And not only would Penn State football been no more, but it would have had to face additional sanctions, such as fines and future scholarship reductions.
"If the death penalty were to be imposed, I'm quite sure that the executive committee and I ... would not have agreed to just the death penalty. It would have included other penalties as well," Emmert said during his press release.
The school's Board of Trustees had little to say about Erickson's decision, but weren't prepared to head in the other direction.
"The Board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate," the board said in a statement. "But as we understand it, the alternatives were worse as confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert's recent statement that Penn State was likely facing a multi-year death sentence. The University and Board resolve to move forward together to recognize the historical excellence in Penn State's academic and athletic programs."
Penn State football was literally on the brink of death. It will already go through much adversity and impotence as a program through the next several years, with only relevancy in mind as a goal.
It still may never recover.
But had it denied Emmert's initial plan for sanctions, any chance for redemption as one of the most winningest programs of all time would have been shot to the ground.
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