Penn State president Eric Barron says the information revealed in a series of emails from inside the NCAA regarding the sanctions levied against the university were “deeply disturbing.” The university is now weighing all options in response to the information unearthed as part of a court battle the NCAA is preparing for against Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman.
“We find it deeply disturbing that NCAA officials in leadership positions would consider bluffing one of their member institutions, Penn State, to accept sanctions outside of their normal investigative and enforcement process,” according to the statement by Barron and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Keith Masser. The statement released Tuesday evening was signed by both.
“We are considering our options,” the statement from Barron continues. “It is important to understand, however, that Penn State is in the midst of a number of legal and civil cases associated with these matters … Penn State’s commitment to the fight against child abuse and to the implementation of best practice governance, ethics and compliance programs and policies remains steadfast.”
As far as the NCAA’s sanctions are concerned, there is not much left that would be worth any fight by Penn State. The NCAA has already lifted the final two years of a postseason ban and restored the scholarship totals for the football program. Penn State is still paying off a $60 million fine to go toward child abuse awareness programs, which has spurned a separate legal battle for the NCAA regarding where the money may be distributed. The NCAA also vacated 112 wins from the record book for Penn State, 111 of which belonged to former head coach Joe Paterno. It is unclear what options would be available to Penn State, but fighting to drop the remainder of the fine payments would be a terrible public relations decision.
It may be more beneficial if Penn State would ask for more information from the NCAA in how the decisions were made, and perhaps ask for a review in order to assure no other NCAA institution is subject to such a process.
The NCAA has released its own statement to suggest the emails merely show the careful discussion in how to handle responding to Penn State following the release of the Freeh Report.