The NCAA said on Sunday that it planned to announce “corrective and punitive measures” on Monday against Pennsylvania State University in response to its role in concealing a child sex-abuse scandal involving a former football coach.
The penalties are likely to include a significant loss of scholarships and multiple bowl appearances, ESPN reported. Penn State will not receive the so-called death penalty, a punishment that would bench the football team for one or more seasons, the network reported.
Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA’s Executive Committee and president of Oregon State University, will appear with Mark Emmert, the NCAA’s president, at a 9 a.m. news conference in Indianapolis to discuss the sanctions.
In an interview with The Chronicle this week, Ray said the NCAA should consider harsh penalties against the Nittany Lions’ program.
“People have suggested that the culpable people have been fired, that Joe Paterno has died—so why do anything to the football program or the athletic program?” he said. “I’d sure want some pretty damn clear evidence that the athletic program is not capable of doing this again.”
Because of the severity of problems at Penn State—which included repeated sexual abuse on university property while top leaders, including Mr. Paterno, the revered coach, were said to have actively concealed it—the NCAA is sidestepping its normal infractions process.
“There aren’t [NCAA] rules about pedophiles,” Ray said. “There are rules about institutional control and oversight, and assertions about ethics and appropriate behavior. Even in the Penn State case, there are certain grounds for the NCAA to take action, and I expect serious action to be taken.
“If we really want to have people not just talk about the integrity of the game and about people being accountable and about shared responsibility, we have to do everything we can to make that real,” he told The Chronicle.
Ray oversees an NCAA working group on enforcement issues, which has proposed changes that would bring stiffer penalties to programs that step outside the lines.
“To the extent—and I’m not privy to the facts—here was this culture within the university, and a very closed community, where Joe Paterno and his people did their thing,” Ray said. “That’s just not going to cut it going forward.”
Ray also doesn’t buy the idea that Penn State did not gain a competitive advantage in football during the years in which its leaders failed to act on accusations of abuse by Jerry Sandusky, the coach convicted last month on 45 counts of molesting children.
“Penn State did a hell of a lot of recruiting between 1998 and 2012 of very top football athletes, played in bowl games, had great records during some of those years,” he said. “I don’t know if a lot of that would have been possible if the truth had come out over the last 14 years.”
Also on Sunday, Penn State abruptly removed a giant bronze statue of Mr. Paterno that had been a fixture outside Beaver Stadium for more than a decade.