To all those Penn State alumni and fans were are bereft about the NCAA's severe punishment over the school's coverup of a horrifying child abuse scandal: It could have been much worse than a $60 million fine, vacating all victories from 1998 and 2011, and being banned from the post-season for four years. Because the NCAA was also considering a multi-year college football ban. Or as Tom Price might have put it, it could have been "worse than 9/11."
Some Penn State trustees were annoyed that University President Rodney Erickson had agreed to the NCAA's punishment, which left many rightly or wrongly complaining that the school was being unfairly punished, and were going to challenge that decision. According to the Patriot-News, the trustees met with Erickson yesterday and walked away in tacit support: "In their statement, the trustees said they found 'the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate. But as we understand it, the alternatives were worse as confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert’s recent statement that Penn State was likely facing a multiyear death penalty.'"
While the current punishments are unprecedented, the football season will go on. Still, some alumni are unhappy and want more answers. (Even non-alum Regis Philbin thinks it's too much!) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett added that the students were "bearing the brunt" of the punishment, "I can certainly understand where the players who played all those games are looking at the NCAA and saying, ‘I didn’t play the game? Of course I did.'"
Here's the full statement from the Penn State Board of Trustees:
The Penn State Board of Trustees met for a discussion tonight. A vote was not required and none was taken. The Board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate. But as we understand it, the alternatives were worse as confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert’s recent statement that Penn State was likely facing a multi-year death sentence. The university and board resolve to move forward together to recognize the historical excellence in Penn State’s academic and athletic programs. We anticipate and look forward to demonstrating our outstanding performance in complying with the sanctions. We continue to recognize the important role that intercollegiate athletics provides for our student athletes and the wider university community as we strive to appropriately balance academic and athletic accomplishments. Penn State will remain a world-class educational institution of which our students, faculty, staff and alumni can be justifiably proud. The commitment demonstrated by our student athletes in recent days embodies all that is good about Penn State, and we look forward to unprecedented support by the Nittany nation when we take the field this fall.”
One expert estimates that the financial fallout from the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal could be $500 million over ten years.