Jerry Sandusky, Penn State’s defensive coordinator from 1977 until 1999, was arrested for child sex abuse on Dec. 7, 2011. When the news leaked, Sandusky faced 52 charges of molesting ten boys who participated in The Second Mile Foundation, a charity that was founded by Sandusky and his wife, Dottie.
Sandusky’s trial began on June 11, 2012, when his victims testified against the former coach. When all of the trials and proceedings were said and done, the jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse on June 22, 2012. The 68-year-old received a jail sentence and the duration included 30-60 years in prison.
As a result, the university and football team received numerous sanctions. A month later, NCAA President, Mark Emmert, made the announcement that the university had to pay a fine of $60 million. Emmert also announced that the football program would have to vacate all of their victories from 1998 until 2011, their postseason eligibility for four seasons, and be limited to 65 scholarships during that four-year span.
Joe Paterno, Penn State’s head coaching legend of 46 seasons, was fired after Sandusky’s scandal became public. Bill O’Brien, the former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, was hired to replace Paterno prior to the 2012 season. The Nittany Lions Penn overcame an 0-2 start to finish with an 8-4 record that year.
After O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to a 7-5 campaign in 2013, he agreed to become the head coach for the Houston Texans on New Year’s Eve. On Jan. 11, 2014, the university hired James Franklin, Vanderbilt’s former head coach, to lead the Lions. So far, Penn State’s record stands at 2-0 under Franklin.
On Sep. 8, two days after Penn State’s 21-3 win over Akron, the news became official. Penn State’s banishment from postseason play was lifted. On top of the eligibility being reinstated, the NCAA also announced that the football program will obtain all of their lost scholarships for the 2015 season.
Franklin added his input about the relieving news: “We are very appreciative of the opportunities the NCAA and Big Ten have provided with today’s announcement.” He continued, “This team plays for each other. We play for Penn State, our families, the former players, our students, alumni, fans, and the community.”