In the run-up to the NCAA’s announcement of sanctions levied on Penn State’s football program, it was thought that every punitive option, including the death penalty, was at the association’s disposal.
Apparently, the university itself thought so as well.
In an interview Monday afternoon with the Centre Daily Times, PSU president Rodney Erickson acknowledged that, in essence, the university accepted some of the most debilitating sanctions in the history of the NCAA in order to avoid a death sentence for its program.
“We had our backs to the wall on this. We did what we thought was necessary to save the program,” Erickson told the Daily Times.
The paper went on to write that, “”[j]oined by board of trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz and interim director of athletics David Joyner, Erickson said he signed the NCAA agreement because no better deal was available.”
That deal included an unprecedented $60 million fine; four-year bowl ban; multiple years of scholarship reductions/roster limits; vacating all wins from 1998-2011; and five years of probation. There has been much consternation coming from the extended Penn State family regarding the appearance that the university simply rolled over for the NCAA.
Is it a fate worse than death? Only time will tell if the current Penn State leadership was justified in accepting the NCAA terms without a hint of an appeal in the offing.