Penn State’s Board of Trustees is apparently quite dissatisfied with interim president Rodney Erickson over his decision to accept the NCAA’s severe sanctions against the football program in the wake of the Freeh report.
So much so that the trustees have reportedly called a meeting with Erickson to discuss whether or not he actually had the authority to accept the terms of the consent decree, which was administered by NCAA president Mark Emmert without normal investigative protocol.
From the Express-Times of Easton, which was first to report the story:
Some board members say Erickson broke Standing Order IV under “Matters Requiring the approval of the Board of Trustees.”
Provision 2-e of Standing Order IV states the following actions must be approved by the board: Authorization to borrow money; authorization of persons to sign checks, contracts, legal documents, and other obligations, and to endorse, sell or assign securities.
The Associated Press reportedly similarly, though the school has not released a response.
The board’s displeasure with the sanctions have been well documented. One trustee, Anthony Lubrano, told the USA Today earlier this week he was “outraged” the board was not consulted on the situation:
“It’s really simple: I am frankly outraged as a member of the board of trustees that the university entered into a consent agreement without discussing it with the Board in advance of signing.
“If I’m going to be held accountable, I feel like I should’ve been part of that process. I think it’s fair to say that a number of board members are upset.”
Erickson told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Wednesday that if Penn State did not accept the penalties proposed by Emmert, the program likely would have faced the Death penalty for four years.
Erickson should have been more open with the board — heck, “should have” is the reason Penn State is in this situation to begin with — but I still believe that athletic sanctions are going to be the least of Penn State’s worries going forward.
Updated 8:48 p.m. ET: The board released this statement after its meeting with Erickson. It says nothing that Erickson didn’t already say about the NCAA’s “ultimatum” so feel free to join in me in popping a couple Alka Seltzers:
The Penn State Board of Trustees met for a discussion tonight. A vote was not required and none was taken. The Board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate. But as we understand it, the alternatives were worse as confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert’s recent statement that Penn State was likely facing a multi-year death sentence.
“The University and Board resolve to move forward together to recognize the historical excellence in Penn State’s academic and athletic programs. We anticipate and look forward to demonstrating our outstanding performance in complying with the sanctions. We continue to recognize the important role that intercollegiate athletics provides for our student athletes and the wider University community as we strive to appropriately balance academic and athletic accomplishments.
“Penn State will remain a world-class educational institution of which our students, faculty, staff and alumni can be justifiably proud. The commitment demonstrated by our student athletes in recent days embodies all that is good about Penn State and we look forward to unprecedented support by the Nittany nation when we take the field this fall.”