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By throwing out all Penn State victories from 1998 to 2011, the NCAA stripped Paterno of the top spot in the record book. The governing body went all the way back to 1998 because, according to the investigative report, that is the year Paterno and other Penn State officials first learned of an allegation against Sandusky.

Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will replace Paterno with 377 major-college victories, while Paterno will be credited with 298.

“I didn’t want it to happen like this,” Bowden said. “Wish I could have earned it, but that’s the way it is.”

Penn State will also lose 20 scholarships a year for four years. Major college football programs are normally allowed 85 scholarship players per year.

The postseason ban is the longest handed out by the NCAA since it gave a four-year punishment to Indiana football in 1960.

Penn State players left a team meeting on campus in State College without talking to reporters. Penn State’s season starts Sept. 1 at home against Ohio University.

“Our heritage, our legacy has been tainted and damaged,” said Troy Cromwell, a wide receiver on the 1986 team that won the second of Paterno’s two national championships. Cromwell said he felt bad for current and incoming players, “but at the end of the day, there were still those kids, those poor kids, and those victims, and we have to think about them first in everything that we do.”

The harshest penalty handed out to a football program came in the 1980s, when the NCAA shut down Southern Methodist University’s team for a year. SMU football has never gotten back to the level of success it had before getting the death penalty.

Jim Delany, commissioner of the Big Ten conference, said he believes Penn State is capable of bouncing back. “I do have a strong sense that many of the ingredients of success are still at Penn State and will be there in future years,” he said.

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Russo reported from New York. Associated Press writers Mark Scolforo in State College, Kevin Begos in Pittsburgh, Tom Coyne in Indianapolis and Brent Kallestad in Tallahassee, Fla., contributed to this story, along with AP videographer Dan Huff in State College.