In swift and broad sanctions that flatten the short-term future of Penn State football, the NCAA also deflated much of its past.
Late coach Joe Paterno and Penn State were docked 111 wins, vacated between 1998 and 2011, which removes Paterno as the all-time winningest coach in Division I football coach and reduces Penn State's all-time wins total to now stand outside the top 10 winningest programs of all-time.
Paterno stands 12th on the all-time overall wins list for all divisions with 298. A total of 112 Penn State wins were vacated; Paterno did not coach one of those games.
NCAA president Dr. Mark Emmert stayed on message of changing the athletic culture and an overall failure of integrity but refused to speak directly to Paterno's role in the incident.
"We expressly have in these sanctions and findings withheld judgment on individuals and will do so until all the criminal investigations have concluded," Emmert said.
Emmert said all current Penn State players who are eligible are cleared to transfer to other Division I programs without having to sit out one season as per usual transfer rules. The NCAA will consider waiving scholarship maximums for schools who accept Penn State transfers.
"Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as Head Coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence," said coach Bill O'Brien in a news release. "I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.
"I was then and I remain convinced that our student athletes are the best in the country. I could not be more proud to lead this team and these courageous and humble young men into the upcoming 2012 season. Together we are committed to building a better athletic program and university."
Penn State athletic director Dr. David Joyner issued a statement accepting the punishment and calling on the institution to "take a step forward in changing its culture."
"As we move forward, today's student athletes have a challenging road ahead. But they will do the right thing, as they have always done. I am confident all of our head coaches will come together to make the change necessary to drive our university forward. Penn State will continue to fully support its established athletic programs, which provide opportunities for over 800 student athletes," Joyner's statement read.
"Working together, the path ahead will not be easy. But it is necessary, just, and will bring a better future. Our faculty, staff, students, athletes, and parents will work together as Penn State begins this new chapter. Though this cooperation and collaboration, Penn State will become a national model for compliance, ethics, and embodiment of the student athlete credo."
Bobby Bowden (Florida State) is now recognized as the FBS' all-time wins leader with 377 victories.