The much maligned NCAA couldn’t afford any more bad publicity, but these recent reports are astonishing. Internal emails recently received in a court case show that certain crowds within the NCAA organization didn’t believe they had the right jurisdiction to punish Penn State. Penn State officials were charged with covering up a damaging and controversial child abuse sex scandal, involving an ex assistant coach by the name of Jerry Sandusky. The sanctions were reversed, but they originally would have kept Penn State out of postseason play until 2017 and limited them to only 65 scholarships until then as well.
The most damning email of all was a July 14, 2012 email to then-NCAA director of enforcement Julie Roe. NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs Kevin Lennon wrote this of the potential hammer being dropped down on Penn State: “I know we are banking on the fact school is so embarrassed they will do anything, but I am not sure about that, and no confidence conference or other members will agree to any of that. This will force the jurisdictional issue that we really don’t have a great answer to that one.”
Lennon questioned the ethical dilemmas for future NCAA cases. Roe responded expressing her doubts about whether Penn State truly gained an competitive advantage and that they were “bluffing” the university. Below is an excerpt of her response.
“I characterized our approach to PSU as a bluff when talking to Mark yesterday afternoon after the call. He basically agreed b/c I think he understands that 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 think he is okay with that risk.”
Julie Roe is referring to current NCAA president Mark Emmert. What makes this so staggering is they – meaning the NCAA – had all these concerns and questions about ethics, yet still decided to follow through with the sanctions. The NCAA did not respond to comment request, That can be thrown under the category of “as expected”.
*Section Photo credit to Jamie Squire, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Onward State