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“This case is obviously incredibly unprecedented in every aspect of it,” Emmert said, “as are these actions that we’re taking today.”

Penn State football under Paterno was built on _ and thrived upon _ the premise that it did things the right way. That it was not a football factory where only wins and losses determined success. Every major college football program tries to send that message, but Penn State built its brand on it.

Paterno’s “Grand Experiment” was about winning with integrity, graduating players and sending men into the world ready to succeed in life, not just football. But he still won a lot _ a record-setting 409 victories.

The NCAA had never sanctioned, or seriously investigated Penn State. Few, if any, national powers could make that claim.

Southern California, Ohio State, Alabama, all have run afoul of the NCAA. Even Notre Dame went on probation for two years after a booster lavished gifts on players in the 1990s.

The harshest penalty handed down to a football program came in the `80s, when the NCAA shut down SMU’s team for a year. SMU football has never gotten back to the level of success it had before the “death penalty.”

Emmert said there were concerns about the collateral damage of shutting down Penn State football for a year, and that’s why the death penalty was ruled out.

“It hurts people who had absolutely nothing to do with this process, which is always the case,” he said.

Emmert added that no attempt was made for the sanctions to be more severe than the death penalty.

“That isn’t a comparison I or anyone else needs to make,” he said. “People in the media can make those comparisons.”

Delany said he believes Penn State is capable of bouncing back from the sanctions.

“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.