New York—Although the NCAA has not opened a formal investigation into allegations of child sex abuse and a possible cover-up at Pennsylvania State University, the case could lead the association to consider changes in its bylaws that would give it more power to punish athletics programs for violations that may not currently fall within its jurisdiction, NCAA president Mark Emmert told reporters this morning.
Speaking at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum here, Mr. Emmert said the NCAA’s enforcement staff had sent an inquiry to Penn State officials to determine whether the university showed a lack of institutional control or committed ethical violations in response to allegations of sexual abuse by a former football coach, Jerry Sandusky. If the NCAA finds evidence that Penn State officials turned a blind eye to the problems, as a grand-jury report has suggested, the association would presumably open an investigation.
“This is allegedly about behavior that took place on campus, by members of a program, and allegedly covered up by members of that program,” Mr. Emmert said.
The NCAA’s role in the scandal—and whether the association is doing enough, or acted quickly enough—has raised questions about the effectiveness of an enforcement process that penalizes programs for problems far less serious than those at Penn State.
Those questions come as the association is re-evaluating its entire enforcement process–one that Mr. Emmert said he hoped would produce a major overhaul within the next year: “We want to keep our attention focused on the most egregious acts that threaten the integrity of college sports.”
He would not give details about rules changes that NCAA leaders are considering, but warned that the process could be onerous. “How long,” he said, “would it take Congress to rewrite the tax code?”