The NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State’s football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal now makes Grambling State University’s Eddie Robinson the winningest coach in Division I college football. (Photo: AP)
The NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State’s football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal now makes Grambling State University’s Eddie Robinson the winningest coach in Division I college football.
On Monday, the NCAA announced it would vacate all 111 wins accumulated by Penn State team from 1998, when university officials first heard allegations of Sandusky’s child abuse, through 2011, when legendary football coach Joe Paterno was fired.
That moved Robinson, with 408 total career wins, to the No. 1 spot overall. Florida State’s Bobby Bowden is considered No. 1 with 377 wins in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
In addition, the NCAA imposed a $60 million fine against Penn State University (PSU), a four-year postseason ban and the loss of 10 scholarships per year for the next four years, with a limit of 65 total scholarship players on the roster, as opposed to the typical 85, by the 2014 season.
It was a debilitating air strike that not only punished Penn State, and Paterno posthumously, after officials covered up for Sandusky, who was convicted last month of 45 counts of child sex abuse, but spread collateral damage on an elite football program that was recognized for one of the highest graduation rates in the country for student athletes.
The fallout basically prevents Penn State from being competitive in the Big Ten play and sets up the possibility of mass defections by players who will be allowed to transfer to other universities where they can play immediately.
From 1941, until his retirement in 1997, Robinson led Grambling and sent hundreds of players to the NFL, including the first player from a historically black college, Paul “Tank” Younger.
Last season marked the 25 anniversary of the Eddie Robinson Award which honors the outstanding head coach in the Football Championship Subdivision. Robinson died in 2007 at age 88 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are proud that Coach Eddie Robinson remains the winningest football coach in the history of college football,” Grambling President Frank G. Pogue said in a statement, noting that none of this would be happening except for the tragic, unfortunate incidents at Penn State.
Still, Pogue said, “As the Grambling family has said all along, regardless of the action of the NCAA, Eddie G. Robinson will forever be remembered as the coach with more football victories than anyone else.”
Last week, Grambling city attorney Pamela Breedlove Mayor Edward Jones sent a 3-pageletter to the NCAA asking it to vacate some of Paterno’s wins in order to restore the Division I football victories record to Robinson, citing the independent investigation of the PSU’s actions by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, according to The Shreveport Times.
“Even though it was done by outside counsel, the Freeh Report was the university’s report,” Breedlove told the newspaper. “It said what their employees, including coach Paterno, did wrong. We’re hoping the end result of this is coach Robinson will get his record back so everyone will think a great man holds this record.”