NCAA set to announce likely Penn State punishment Monday

The NCAA has scheduled a press conference for Monday to announce likely penalties against Penn State as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

NCAA president Mark Emmert and Oregon State president Ed Ray, chair of the NCAA’s executive committee, will discuss the matter at 9 a.m. at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

CBS News quoted an NCAA source as saying penalties against Penn State would be “unprecedented.” The source went on to say, “I’ve never seen anything like it,” according to CBS.

The term “unprecedented” raises concerns that Penn State would be assessed the “death penalty,” which would mark the discontinuation of the football program for at least one year.

In an appearance on PBS last week, Emmert said major sanctions, including the death penalty, remained under consideration.

The announcement follows the July 12 release of the Freeh Report, which said high-ranked officials at Penn State, including the late Joe Paterno and former university president Graham Spanier, engaged in a cover-up over 14 years after allegations of child sexual abuse against Sandusky became known.

After the report was released, the NCAA said it was still awaiting response from Penn State and current president Rodney Erickson on four key questions regarding the scandal, including institutional control over the football program.

That request was made in a Nov. 17 letter from Emmert to Erickson, less than two weeks after Sandusky was arrested, and eight days after Paterno was fired.

In an interview last Tuesday, Erickson, when asked for his view on penalties, told the Inquirer that the NCAA needed time to look at the university’s response to Emmert’s questions.

He said he was concerned about how the possible suspension of football would affect the school’s other 27 varsity sports, which rely on revenue generated by football for their funding.

Here are the questions asked by Emmert in the Nov. 17, 2011 to Erickson. The first one dealt with the NCAA constitution and bylaws concerning institutional control, unethical conduct, honesty, governing the conduct of athletic department personnel and compliance with NCAA regulations.

“How has Penn State and/or its employees complied with the Articles of the Constitution and bylaws that are cited in this letter?”

“How has Penn State exercised institutional control over the issues identified in and related to the grand jury report? Were there procedures in place that were or were not followed? What are the institution’s expectations and policies to address the conduct that has been alleged in this matter upon discovery by any party?”

“Have each of the alleged persons to have been involved or have notice of the issues identified in and related to the grand jury report behaved consistent with principles and requirements governing ethical conduct and honesty? If so, how? If not, how?”

“What policies and procedures does Penn State have in place to monitor, prevent and detect the issues identified in and related to the grand jury report or to take disciplinary or corrective action of such behaviors are found?”

--Joe Juliano