It’s been nearly three years since the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal at Penn State became the story in college football, with it ultimately costing the legendary Joe Paterno his job and the football program crippling NCAA sanctions. In this case, time certainly hasn’t healed all wounds.
In fact, it’s done nothing but continually rip off old scabs.
The latest example is a report from OnwardState.com. The website gained access to internal NCAA emails that are a part of Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman‘s lawsuit against the NCAA. Corman’s suit questions the legality of the sanctions placed on the Nittany Lions football program and agreed to by the university and the NCAA, an agreement that was (controversially) reached following the release of the Freeh Report into the sexual abuse allegations made against the former Paterno assistant.
In part of a series of extremely damning and damaging emails that further cuts away at what little credibility the NCAA has left when it comes to enforcement, one prominent now-former member of The Association itself questioned in 2012 whether the governing body even had the authority to levy sanctions for what was essentially an off-field issue unrelated to football. That official, then-NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach, went so far as to refer to the threat of sanctions as a “bluff,” an assessment in which embattled NCAA president Mark Emmert agreed.
Another email indicated the NCAA was banking on the university’s embarrassment over the scandal to force them into agreeing with the punitive measures. Both of those appear below, with Lach’s leading off:
“We could try to assert jurisdiction on this issue and may be successful but it’d be a stretch. I characterized our approach to PSU as a bluff when talking to Mark [Emmert] yesterday afternoon after the call. He basically agreed b/c if we make this an enforcement issue, we may win the immediate battle but lose the war when the COI [Committee on Infractions] has to rule.”
“I know we are banking on the fact the school is so embarrassed they will do anything, but I am not sure about that, and no confidence [the Big Ten] conference or other members will agree to that,” wrote NCAA Vice President of Academic and Membership Affairs Kevin Lennon on the same day. “This will force the jurisdictional issue that we really don’t have a great answer to that one…”
Lach’s email, incidentally, was sent 10 days before the historic sanction on PSU’s football program were announced.
There were also numerous emails regarding the “competitive advantage” the alleged cover-up of Sandusky’s actions gave to the football program, a “fact” used as one justification for the NCAA’s sanctions. I would strongly urge you to click HERE for OnwardState.com‘s report and HERE for the entire filing from Corman’s lawsuit to get a full sense of the breadth of the NCAA’s arrogance and ineptness.
It’s at this point where I’d normally question the ability of Emmert to continue on as president or the NCAA itself to continue on as a governing body, but, like cockroaches, both have survived nuclear calamity before; what’s one more H-bomb amongst very powerful and self-important friends?