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Penn State's legal settlements with Jerry Sandusky's accusers cover alleged abuse dating to 1971, which was 40 years before his arrest, the university said Sunday in providing the first confirmation of the time frame of abuse claims that have led to big payouts.
The NCAA ordered Penn State to pay the penalty funds into an endowment for "external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at the university.""We had our backs to the wall on this," Penn State president Rodney Erickson told the Centre Daily Times of Pennsylvania in an interview later Monday, saying the school accepted the penalties to avoid the so-called "death penalty" that could have resulted in the suspension of the football program for at least one year.
"We did what we thought was necessary to save the program."In response to Erickson's comments, Ray, speaking to ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg, said the NCAA did not threaten Penn State with the death penalty, and that the sanctions issued were unanimously agreed upon by the NCAA Executive Committee."It was a unanimous act," Ray said earlier during the news conference. It's traumatic for the university, particularly smaller ones, kind of like we are here in central Pennsylvania.""That's simply the answer," Erickson said.
"We needed to act."In interview with ESPN's John Barr, Erickson reiterated his fear of the death penalty, not handed down since SMU was forced to drop football in 1987 because of extra benefits violations. "I thought it was better to go down this path than face a multiple-year death penalty."With the wins from 1998-2011 vacated, Paterno moves from 409 wins to 298, dropping him from first to 12th on the winningest NCAA football coach list.
Responding to questions about the president's statement and claims against the school, university spokesman Lawrence Lokman told The Associated Press and ESPN's Josh Moyer that he could confirm that the earliest year of alleged abuse covered in Penn State's settlements is 1971.
Sandusky graduated from Penn State in 1965 and returned as a full-time defensive coach in 1969.