By Randy Peterson
The NCAA will announce sanctions against Penn State Monday, and punishment from the Big Ten Conference could follow.
“I think you can expect when the NCAA is ready to talk about what the appropriate actions are with regard to Penn State, that we’ll be ready to talk about appropriate actions with regard to the conference as well,” said University of Iowa president Sally Mason, chairman of the conference’s powerful council of presidents and chancellors.
Mason’s remarks came during a telephone interview on Thursday, before Sunday’s announcement that NCAA president Mark Emmert and Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA’s executive committee, would announce action against the scandal-ridden school.
The NCAA press release offered no details, other than to say today’s announcement would include “corrective and punitive measures.”
“We’re watching the NCAA closely,” Mason said.
The NCAA and Big Ten have been exploring options after independent investigator Louis Freeh said top Penn State officials – including former football coach Joe Paterno – “concealed” what they knew about sexual abuse on young boys by former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Possible punishments could include suspending the football program, a bowl ban, scholarship reduction, and redistributing the school’s conference revenue.
The last time the NCAA shut down a football program was SMU in the 1980s. Iowa is scheduled to host the Nittany Lions at 7 p.m. Oct. 20. The game is scheduled for the Big Ten Network.
“We’ll hold in abeyance all of those decisions until we’ve actually decided what we want to do with the actual charges, should there be any,” Emmert said during a PBS interview last week. “And I don’t want to take anything off the table.”
Penn State officials Sunday moved the statue of the legendary coach from outside Beaver Stadium to inside the stadium.
“We are dealing with an unprecedented situation,” Mason said during last week’s interview. “It clearly is a sports-related incident, but it’s also indicative of systemic institutional failures – a moral failure as well a legal failure — and we as a conference want to do everything we can to both send a very strong message to our conference member, and at the same time also help Penn State find ways to really get back to emphasizing the great educational institution that it is.”
Big Ten bylaws give the conference power to punish members failing to provide complete, accurate information during an investigation. Sanctions, which can include suspension of programs or removal from the conference, require approval by at least eight of the 12 schools.
“The conference definitely has jurisdiction to take action in a case like this,” Mason said. “Exactly what actions we’ll take. . . it’s premature.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football