Tuesday NCAA president Mark Emmert said he and the executive committee decided against imposing a suspension of play, the so-called "death penalty," on Penn State following the child sex abuse scandal because, "it was too blunt an instrument."
"It affects too many people that had utterly nothing to do with these affairs," Emmert said on "CBS This Morning." "The marching band didn’t have anything to do with this. The mom-and-pop that’s running the hot dog stand in the town didn’t have anything to do with this. The rest of the institution probably had nothing to do with this.
"We’re trying to focus the penalties where they are most likely to change the culture," Emmert said. "We’re saying to Penn State, ‘Don’t worry about going to the Rose Bowl next year, worry about getting the culture right and the values right and in a few years you can worry about going to bowl games.’"
Following the devastating Freeh report released this month which found university officials hid what they knew about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s conduct, the governing body of college sports imposed fines of $60 million, ordered Penn State to sit out the postseason for four years, capped scholarships at 20 - below the normal limit for four years - and placed football on five years’ probation. The measures have effectively crippled the program.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted June 22 on 45 sex abuse counts. The accusations of abuse, revealed in November 2011, sent shock waves through the college campus known as "Happy Valley" and led to the firing of Penn State’s beloved Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno. The NCAA also took away 14 years of Paterno’s victories.
"We want everyone to pay attention," Emmert said. "This is indeed a cautionary tale, that the athletic tail can’t wag the academic dog."
Emmert said Penn State failed to maintain control of its athletic programs. "There were multiple violations of any sense of ethical conduct. Those are the things that surround and build up the culture inside an athletic department and we simply can’t abide that," he said. "Rather than saying there’s any one little specific rule that’s been breached here, this is a systemic failure."