Jul 18, 2012 07:04 AM EDT
Penn State University Football Team May face 'death penalty'
A week after the release of Louis Freeh report on the Penn state University Sex abuse Scandal involving a former assistant football coach, the President of NCAA said that he has not ruled out the possibility of issuing "death penalty" to the University's football program.
The president of National Collegiate Athletic Association, Mark Emmert, in his first public comments since the release of the report said, "I have never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a University and hope to never see it again". He was being interviewed on PBS' Travis Smiley Program.
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When asked about the 'death penalty', Emmert said: "I don't want to take anything off the table. The fact is this is completely different than ... anything else we have dealt with."
'Death Penalty' is the harshest sanction that NCAA can hand down to punish an athletic program found to have violated the rules. The penalty bans that program from competing in its sport for up to two years, and, in essence, forces the University to start over and build from scratch.
Only one football program has ever received the NCAA 'death penalty' - Southern Methodist University after a 1986 investigation found that the amateur players were being paid and top University officials were involved. SMU's program took two years to recover. There are chances that Penn state program may also face the same fate, which has been rated as the third most valuable program in US College football by Forbes.
In the same interview, Emmert also added that before taking any decision he is awaiting Penn state's response to the report of the investigation conducted by the former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, Louis Freeh.
The report said that the school's top executives, including former President Graham Spanier and football coach Joe Paterno, concealed Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children to protect the school's 'brand' from 'bad publicity', though they had known about such allegations as early as 1998. Sandusky was convicted last month on 45 counts of abusing young boys over a period of more than a decade.
Once Penn State responds to the NCAA's letter, the organization will decide whether to press charges against the college. Emmert assured that the NCAA would do what is best in Penn state situation. Key decisions on the matter will be made by an infractions committee that consists of ten members, a majority drawn from universities that are members of major college conferences. The chair of the committee is Britton Banowsky, Commissioner of Conference USA.