- Last Updated: 1:15 PM, July 17, 2012
- Posted: 10:10 AM, July 17, 2012
The NCAA’s president refused to rule out death for Penn State football, in the wake of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s conviction for child sex abuse.
In a chat with PBS last night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said he doesn’t want to “take anything off the table” in regard to possible penalties against the storied Penn State Nittany Lions football program.
“[I’ve] never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university,” Emmert said.
"What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we'll have to decide."
Sandusky was convicted of 45 criminal counts related to sex crimes against kids between 1994 to 2009. It took two days for jurors to convict Sandusky on June 22.
Following Sandusky’s arrest in November, the Penn State board of trustees tapped former FBI director Louis Freeh to find out what went wrong.
His findings, detailed in a shocking 267-page report released last week, put the blame at the top of Happy Valley’s football-crazed hierarchy.
"The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,'' the investigation concluded.
Freeh specifically called out former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz, the late legendary football coach Joe Paterno and former Athletic Director Tim Curley for keeping Sandusky’s sick conduct under wraps.
Curley and Schultz have been charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to report suspected child abuse.
Spanier resigned in disgrace, but has not been charged.
Paterno, the winningest coach in college football history, was fired nine games into the 2011 season. He died of lung cancer in January.
The school is now wrestling with the fate of an iconic JoePa statue outside of Beaver Stadium. Critics of Penn State football insist the sculpture should come down, in light of what Paterno knew about Sandusky. But many Nittany Lions fans want the statue to stay, arguing the coach did much more good for Penn State than harm, even in light of the sick Sandusky affair.
An airplane flew over Penn State this morning, dragging a banner: “Take this statue down or we will.”
Penn State is now being mentioned in the same breath as Southern Methodist University -- the most famed target of the NCAA’s so-called “death penalty.”
SMU was forced to cancel its 1987 and 1988 football seasons, over the school’s rampant payment of Pony Express players.
SMU didn’t return to the gridiron until 1989, and it took the Mustangs 20 years to regain even a fraction of the school’s previous football glory.
"This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like (what) happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with. This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal," Emmert said.
"Well, it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem."
With APFollow @NYPostsports