STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — NCAA president Mark Emmert says the sanctions levied on Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal dealt with the behavior of university leaders and whether or not the school handled the allegations appropriately.
Emmert told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday in Chicago that the “fact that there was criminal activity is not the NCAA’s issue.”
The landmark penalties handed down by the NCAA in July included a four-year bowl ban and strict scholarship cuts.
A former assistant football coach, Sandusky was sentenced this month to at least 30 years in prison after being convicted on dozens of criminal counts. Authorities said allegations occurred on and off school property.
The NCAA had said before the sanctions it would look into institutional control at Penn State.
“I think it’s important to differentiate what the Penn State case was about and what it wasn’t about,” Emmert said. “What we were interested in, and what we focused on was the behavior of those people around that situation, and whether or not the university handled the allegations and the information that it received appropriately.”
He added the NCAA was interested “not in the crimes themselves, but in what happened after those crimes were committed and how they were dealt with or not dealt with.”
Many Penn State fans, alumni and former players have criticized the NCAA’s decision, along with the university’s acceptance of the penalties. But school president Rodney Erickson has said he wanted to avoid an even worse punishment — the so-called “death penalty,” or elimination of the program entirely.
The NCAA’s decision was based on a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh for Penn State that said that late coach Joe Paterno and three school officials concealed allegations against Sandusky in order to protect the school’s image. Paterno’s family and the official have vehemently denied those conclusions.
Emmert said if a university addresses criminal activity “rapidly, then that’s not an NCAA matter. It’s whether or not the university fails to respond, to treat a student or an employee in a way that’s fundamentally different than they might treat someone else in the same circumstance. That’s what constitutes a loss of institutional control.”
Sandusky moved from county jail to state prison
CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky became a state prison inmate Tuesday with his transfer out of the Centre County jail, his home since he was convicted in June of child molestation.
The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant coach arrived early in the morning at the State Correctional Institute at Camp Hill, just outside Harrisburg, a state prison system spokeswoman said.
He faces testing and evaluation that will take a week or more before he can be assigned a security risk level and sent to one of the state facilities as his “home” prison. At Camp Hill, experts will assess his mental state, physical health and education level, and determine whether he needs treatment.
“I have some concerns about his medical needs and we’re going to be taking a careful look at that to make sure they’re being addressed,” said his lawyer, Karl Rominger. Specifically, he said, Sandusky has sleep apnea and uses a so-called CPAP machine.
Sandusky was sentenced this month to 30 to 60 years for sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. He has repeatedly asserted his innocence and last week filed post-sentencing motions, seeking to have convictions thrown out or a new trial.
Rominger said he was waiting to see how state prosecutors respond to the defense motions and how Judge John Cleland rules on them. If the judge rules against Sandusky, the defense will then have a month in which to appeal to Superior Court.
There are about 6,800 sex offenders serving time in Pennsylvania’s prison system. The Corrections Department does not maintain special units for sex offenders, and there is no way to predict where he will be sent.
Also Tuesday, a book by Aaron Fisher that recounts his abuse by Sandusky was published. “Silent No More” describes how Fisher’s claims first came to light at his school district a half-hour northeast of State College, triggering the investigation that produced charges nearly a year ago.