NCAA president Mark Emmert said more than a mouthful with his unprecedented punishment of Penn State for its role in covering up former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s reign of child sexual abuse.
Still, Emmert said more. He acknowledged that he and a few NCAA cronies hashed out the $60 million fine, four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions levied at Penn State as more than a penalty directly at the school.
It was also meant to send a message to every other college: “The culture of our sport is (never) going to overwhelm our values again.”
“This is unlike any other case we’ve ever dealt with,” Emmert said in an interview on ESPN’s Outside The Lines. “This is so public, so shocking, so disturbing that it called for a very different approach.
There was no need for the NCAA to investigate what rules were broken, a process that can take months or years. Penn State handed over the results of its investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh and didn’t dispute the facts.
“What we’re trying to do with these sanctions isn’t just penalize and punish the school, but help them reshape that culture so that they never say the culture of hero worship or the culture of sport is ever going to overwhelm our values again so that we don’t make the right choice at the right time.”
He added in an interview with the Associated Press: “One of the grave dangers stemming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail, indeed, too big to even challenge. The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all costs. All involved in intercollegiate athletics must be watchful that programs and individuals do not overwhelm the values of higher education.”
Finally, slamming Penn State with the so-called “death penalty” was very plausible option. Emmert said, “The death penalty was unequivocally on the table. It was widely discussed. There was a lot of sentiment that that ought to be one of the variables in a package of penalties. It was never a consideration that it’d be by itself.”