The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body for US college sports, has slammed Penn State university with an unprecedented series of penalties, including a $60 million fine and a four-year playoff ban over a damaging child sex abuse scandal.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the staggering sanctions on Monday at a news conference in Indianapolis. He said that the severe punishment was merited due to leadership failures and a warped team culture revealed by the scandal.

Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was found guilty in June of sexually abusing young boys, sometimes on campus.

'Though times'

Though the NCAA stopped short of imposing the "death penalty" shutting down the Nittany Lions' programme completely, the punishment is still crippling for a team that is trying to start over with a new coach and a new outlook.

New Penn State coach Bill O'Brien says he's committed to the school despite the harsh sanctions imposed on Monday by the NCAA, including a four-year postseason ban and a big loss in scholarships.

In a statement released by the school, O'Brien said, "I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.''

School President Rodney Erickson says Penn State accepts the penalties. He says the NCAA sanctions will help the school "define our course".

Source: Agencies