As part of a court settlement, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has restored the 112 wins it previously vacated at Pennsylvania State University following former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's conviction on 45 counts of child abuse in 2012. Nearly all of the wins took place under the late Joe Paterno, a revered coach at Penn State and a key figure in the Sandusky scandal. The NCAA vacated the wins as part of a series of sanctions that also included suspending the university from participating in postseason games and fining the institution $60 million.
That fine became the focus of a lawsuit, which was originally meant to determine where the penalty should be spent but gradually became a referendum on the NCAA's authority to impose sanctions in the first place. The NCAA has since walked back many of the sanctions, including ending Penn State's postseason ban in September, two years earlier than what the punishment called for. "Today is a victory for the Penn State nation," Jake Corman, a Pennsylvania senator, told Reuters. "The NCAA has surrendered."
In a statement Friday, the NCAA said the agreement reaffirms its authority to act, and that the $60 million fine will be used to support child abuse prevention and treatment programs. "Continuing this litigation would further delay the distribution of funds to child sexual abuse survivors for years, undermining the very intent of the fine,” said Harris Pastides, president at the University of South Carolina and the new Division I Board of Directors chair. “While others will focus on the return of wins, our top priority is on protecting, educating, and nurturing young people.”
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