they negotiated in reverse.
NCAA says: here's the deal - 4 year bowl ban, loss of scholarships, big fine, you sign something saying you agree to this
In exchange, we'll float the idea that we were considering much worse - 4 year total football ban, bigger fine, etc. - and you can tell everybody you cut a deal so quickly because of how much worse it could have been.
I think the media is portraying this as if the NCAA told them of the death penalty first and PSU's pres. made a partial save, when in reality, the NCAA wanted the no muss-no fuss deal and backfilled the starting point later.
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