What do Allen Iverson, Penn State and the NCAA all have in common?
They’re all (still) talking about the game.
Late last week, the family of longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno filed an odd notice to the NCAA — and to point out that a particular letter from the Paterno family was odd is saying something — appealing the sanctions against the program.
The reasons behind the letter were interesting and not completely off-base, but the Penn State sanctions aren’t subject to appeal*, so the move was pointless.
Well, maybe not entirely.
ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines” reports that at least two Penn State trustees plan to file a similar appeal to the NCAA over the sanctions levied by Association president Mark Emmert. The punishments included a $60 million fine, scholarship loss, bowl ban and probation. The trustees also know they’re going to lose that appeal (re: NCAA sanctions aren’t subject to appeal).
So, they’re reportedly planning to sue.
“Trustees and a person with first-hand knowledge of the discussions said the move is a precursor to a federal lawsuit asking a federal judge to invalidate the sanctions, because trustees expect the NCAA to reject the appeal,” the OTL report states.
Leading the movement is trustee Ryan McCombie, a retired Navy SEAL who joined the board in June. Trustees also reportedly want to determine whether university president Rodney Erickson had the legal authority to sign the consent decree agreeing to the sanctions against the program. Erickson consulted with board chairwoman Karen Peetz and university counsel before making the decision to sign the agreement.
This, of course, comes two weeks after the board met to discuss whether Erickson had that jurisdiction, after which they released the following statement:
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.
But, here we are again — and on the same day Penn State’s football program tries to move forward without nearly a dozen of its players.
The fact that this continues to be a football issue is absurd when you consider the real situation: one man molested young boys while others did nothing to stop it. But Emmert made it a football issue when he stepped in and punished the program how he did.
The myopic and misplaced priorities by members of the Penn State board and Paterno family are only a reflection of what was presented to them.
(*a note: the Penn State infractions cannot be appealed, not to be confused with general NCAA sanctions, which can.)